Rothenberg, Religious Studies, Chair
| B. Newbold, Geography
T. Carter, Anthropology
|D. Machiela , Religious Studies
|L. DeMiglio , Geography grad
|A. Brown, Anthropology graduate
Link to the Course
to Individual Student Form
(Revised Dec. 10, 2010)
to Guidelines for Course Based Projects Involving Human Subjects
Terms of reference will be updated in Fall 2010 as the Geography department will merge with Anthropology and Religious Studies for the purposes of student research ethics review.
History: These procedures were approved at meetings of faculty in the Departments
of Anthropology and Religious Studies held in the Fall of 1999.
They were then approved by the University Research Ethics Board.
They become effective and apply to all Anthropology and Religious Studies
courses as of January 3rd 2000. Since the Humanities department
was added to this committee in Fall 2000, the terms of reference have
been modified accordingly.
These procedures were adapted from those developed by the Psychology
Ethics Committee for Undergraduate Research and are constructed to conform
with the Tri-Council Policy Statement on Ethical Conduct for Research
Involving Humans (1998), or TCPS. All quotations and references are
from that document. The
Tri-Council Policy is available on the web.
and modification: These procedures, and any subsequent changes
to them, must be approved by a majority of the faculty members in both
the Departments of Anthropology, Religious Studies, Humanities, and
by the University Research Ethics Board.
All research involving humans as research participants must be reviewed
by either the University or Departmental Research Ethics Commitee
(TCPS, Article 2.1). Research is defined as “a systematic
investigation to establish facts, principles or generalizable knowledge”
Article 2.1). This includes research conducted for a McMaster
course that is supervised by an individual who is not affiliated with
the University. Research requiring review includes not only experimental
protocols, but also research involving ethnographic methods, questionnaires,
interviews, or secondary use of data that are not in the public domain.
It also extends to research involving human remains, tissues, biological
fluids, or foetuses(TCPS,
Article 2.1and TCPS, Article 5.5)
Committee shall review research conducted by undergraduate students
when (1) it is conducted as part of an undergraduate course offered
by the Departments of Anthropology,Religious Studies and Humanities,
and (2) it is not part of a faculty member’s research programme
already subject to review by any other Ethics Board (TCPS,
Article 6.1). Undergraduate research for Anthropology, Religious
Studies, and Humanities courses that are supervised by individuals outside
the Departments of Anthropology, Religious Studies and Humanities, shall
be reviewed by the Departmental Committee unless it is subject to review
by the University Research Ethics Board or by another Ethics Board in
compliance with the Tri-Council Policy. Research conducted by graduate
students and faculty members in the Departments of Anthropology, Religious
Studies or Humanities, must be reviewed by the University Research
Ethics Board (and, when relevant, the Ethics Board of the institution
where the research will be conducted).
Committee: The Committee for the Review of Undergraduate Research
is comprised of 3 faculty members (one from Anthropology, one from Religious
Studies, and one from Humanities) and 2 undergraduate students (one
from Social Sciences and one from Humanities). The Committee is
encouraged to consult relevant experts on methodological issues within
and outside the Departments of Anthropology, Religious Studies and Humanities,
of members: Members (and any necessary replacements) shall be appointed
by the Chairs of the Departments. Faculty members shall serve for
staggered 3-year terms; undergraduates or graduates, for 1-year terms.
Terms are renewable. The Chair of the Committee shall be selected by
the Committee. Membership shall be reported to the University Research
for the composition of the Committee:
We believe that
the selection of 5 individuals should provide sufficient range of experience
and expertise so as to be able to assess the various methodological
and ethical issues arising from applications in the two departments.
It is anticipated that the majority of applications will come from Anthropology.
In decisions requiring a vote (for example, to request revisions to
an application, or to refer it to the University Ethics Committee) a
decision will be made based on a majority vote involving not less than
to be supplied: Applications may be made for an individual undergraduate
project, for a generic project to be conducted by several members of
a class, or by an entire class. For independent studies and seminar
courses we encourage the undergraduate researcher to be involved in
constructing the application, but the supervisor or course instructor
must sign the final application. For large class projects we anticipate
that the instructor will prepare the application, and that students
will receive information and instruction concerning the ethical issues
involved in research. The research may not begin until the Departmental
or University Research Ethics Board (if the application has been
referred there) has given its approval.
We suggest that
early in each term (Week Two or Three) instructors discuss
basic issues associated with the ethics of research, including, for
example: Confidentiality of the data, consent, and the harms and benefits
of the research. A brief statement of this part of the curriculum would
constitute “steps taken to educate undergraduate students” as outlined
In each case,
the application must include:
- The purpose of
- How participants
will be recruited
- Method: What
will happen from the participant’s perspective, including a description
of any written instruments to be used
- The process for
obtaining the initial consent and monitoring for ongoing consent,
including a copy of any proposed consent form
- Possible benefits
- Possible harms
- How possible
harms and dangers will be minimized
- How the participants
will be informed about the results of the research or will have
access to research results.
of the data
- Steps taken to
educate the undergraduate student(s) about
- Ethical issues
The application form will
also contain a space to indicate whether the research is part of a supervisor’s
research project that is subject to review by the university ethics
The form is
to be Signed by the supervisor and should list the names of the student(s)
who will carry out the research.
Forms for each
academic year will be available from the Departments of Anthropology
, Religious Studies and Humanities. There are also found on the web
page of the Office of Research Services, Ethics in Human Subject Research.
Contact is the secretariat of the SREC, Michael
J. Wilson GH-305, ext. 23142. Applications may be made by
E-mail attachment or by submitting 2 hard copies.
procedure: Applications should be sent to the SREC secretariat as soon as possible at the start of each term and at least
two weeks prior to the date at which the research is to be started.
In reaching its decisions, the Committee will be guided by the principles
outlined in the Tri-Council Policy. Applications will be approved only
for the academic year in which they are made. If the project will continue
in a subsequent year without any change, the applicant should request
renewal of the approval.
the committee shall make decisions in face-to-face meetings (TCPS,
Articles 6.8, 6.9). However, proposals that fit the Tri-Council’s
definition of minimal risk may be reviewed and approved by E-mail or
mail circulation. Approval requires at least three approving votes.
However, it is anticipated that the committee will normally reach a
consensus and, if necessary, will work with the applicant to improve
the initial proposal.
If the Committee
is reviewing an application in which a Committee member has a personal
interest, that member shall not be involved in the decision (TCPS,
to University Research Ethics Board: The Departmental Committee
may refer an application to the University Research Ethics Board. Examples
of situations in which referral would be appropriate are research that
the Departmental Committee thinks may be of more than minimal risk,
research involving ethical or legal issues for which it does not have
adequate expertise, and cases for which conflicts of interest reduce
its size to fewer than three members.
Every attempt shall be made to work with the applicant to reach
agreement through discussion, revision, and reconsideration. When
agreement cannot be reached, decisions of the Departmental Ethics Board
may be appealed to the University Research Ethics Board, whose decision
shall be final.
The Departmental Committee shall also consider any other ethical issues
that arise which concern Anthropology, Religious Studies and Humanities
undergraduates and research with human participants, such as undergraduate
education about ethics.
of these procedures: These procedures shall be reviewed not later
than June 2001.
Update December 14, 2010