2011 - 2012 Members Sociology Student Research
|D. Young , Sociology,
|N. Brown , graduate
|M. Smith , graduate
Link to the Course
Link to the Individual Application
to Guidelines for Course Based Projects Involving Human Subjects
Research Ethics Committee Terms of Reference
RATIONALE: In compliance with the
Tri-Council Policy Statement on Ethical Conduct for Research Involving
Humans (2010), and the McMaster University Policy Statement for Research
Involving Human Participants, and in collaboration with the McMaster University
Research Ethics Board (MREB), we propose to establish in the Department
of Sociology, a Student Research Ethics Committee to deal with undergraduate
student research proposals involving minimal risk.
The McMaster University Policy Statement for Research Involving Human
Participants is available on the web at: http://www.mcmaster.ca/policy/faculty/Conduct/ResearchInvolvingHumanParticipants.pdf
SCOPE OF RESEARCH THAT MAY BE REVIEWED BY THE SOCIOLOGY
STUDENT RESEARCH ETHICS COMMITTEE (SSREC):
TYPES OF APPLICATIONS THAT MAY BE REVIEWED BY THE
Applications may be made for individual undergraduate research
projects or for course-based research projects. Although undergraduate
student researchers are encouraged to be involved in the application process,
the final application form must come from the supervisor or course instructor
and must be signed by the supervisor/instructor.
Applications which involve research conducted by graduate
students and faculty members, or undergraduate student research which
is part of a faculty member’s research program, cannot be reviewed
by the SSREC, and must be submitted to the McMaster Research Ethics Board.
The SSREC reviews undergraduate student research projects
which involve participants, topics and methods that pose minimal risk.
The Tri-Council definition of minimal risk (TCPS Article 2.8) "is defined as researchin which the probability and magnitude of possible harms implied by participation in the research is no greater than those encountered by participants in those aspects of their everyday life that relate to the research."
CRITERIA FOR ASSESSING MINIMAL RISK:
In its determination of whether or not the student project
is of minimal risk, the SSREC will consider the following criteria:
a) Degree of physical risk;
b) Degree of psychological risk (eg. Potential of participant to feel
demeaned, embarrassed, worried, upset, fatigued, or stressed);
c) Degree of social risk (eg. Possible loss of status, privacy and/or
reputation); potential of participants being harmed in some way;
d) Whether deception is involved;
e) Are the research methods invasive (eg. blood sampling, x-rays); and
do the procedures involve the administration of any substance.
INFORMED CONSENT: Informed consent will
be gathered from all participants in the research. Informed consent is
a process which is different from the consent form. It involves meeting
with a potential participant, finding out whether he or she is capable
of giving consent, and discussing the purpose, risks and benefits of participation
in the research. Naturalistic observation does not normally require informed
consent but permission may be needed to do this in some public or private
Evidence of free and informed consent by the participant
should ordinarily be in writing. Consent forms should be written in a
simple direct style using terms and language that the participant understands.
The process for obtaining informed consent will vary according to the
particular research setting (eg. Telephone interviews, questionnaires,
interviews, experiments), or the particular culture of the participants
(eg. Aboriginal; international). Where individual written consent is inappropriate,
either because of the nature of the research or the characteristics or
culture of the proposed research participants, an alternative process
for consent may be developed by the student researcher and details of
the alternative process should be submitted to the SSREC for review and
approval or amendment.
CRITERIA FOR INFORMED CONSENT FORMS:
The consent form should contain as a minimum, the identity
of the researchers and the faculty offering the research course; a general
description of the purpose of the study, the topic that is being explored
and what the research findings should identify; a description of any risks,
such as those identified on the application form; a statement of the nature
and duration of the participation process; a description of any recording
devices to be used; a statement of the provisions for confidentiality;
a request for permission to quote if quotes are to be used; and a statement
that the participant has the right to refuse to participate or to withdraw
from the study at any time without consequence and/or refrain from answering
whatever questions he or she prefers to omit.
SOCIOLOGY STUDENT RESEARCH ETHICS COMMITTEE COMPOSITION
The Department of Sociology Student Research Ethics Committee
will be composed of three faculty members including the Chair of the
committee, one graduate and one undergraduate student. Composition of
the committee should reflect different areas of research and expertise
of the department. Faculty members will be appointed by the Chair of
the Department for staggered three year terms, and students will by
appointed by their relevant associations on a yearly basis. Terms are
renewable. Student representation at meetings is considered desirable
although students may rotate attendance depending on work constraints.
The McMaster Research Ethics Officer Board Secretariat will be informed
of the committee’s
composition on a yearly basis.
The SSREC Chair will submit an annual report to the MREB,
with the assistance of the Research Ethics Officer, (Michael Wilson) by
June 1st each year, reporting on the proposals reviewed and approved.
These procedures and any subsequent changes to them must be approved by
all the members of SSREC and by the McMaster Research Ethics Board.
SOCIOLOGY STUDENT RESEARCH ETHICS COMMITTEE APPLICATION
(A) FOR INDIVIDUAL UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT RESEARCH PROJECTS
1) At the beginning and end of each term, reminders will
be sent out by E-mail to all members of the Sociology Department informing
them of the requirement to seek either SREC or MREB approval of research
protocols involving human subjects.
2) Five hard copies of any application or 1 hard copy and
an E-mail attachment must be submitted to:
Michael Wilson, Research Ethics Officer
c/o Office of Research Ethics, GH 305
Applications will be assigned a number and reviewed by the
Research Ethics Officer for completeness. In the event of missing or incomplete
documentation, the Research Ethics Officer will contact applicants directly
for corrections to the application.
3) The Sociology Student Research Ethics Committee will
have applications for review forwarded to them by the Research Officer
after this process has been completed. Meetings will be arranged as required
to facilitate approval.
4) The committee will normally meet face-to-face to discuss
applications and the Chair of the committee will sign off on recommendations
for approval. The Research Officer will be informed in writing or E-mail
of the disposition of each application as follows:
(a) Approved without amendment
(b) Approved with amendment
5) Applications requiring amendments will be returned to
applicants for modification with a written directive as to which changes
should be made. Written records will be kept of any exchanges with applicants
in this regard, and follow-up approval can take place by E-mail if all
parties agree. A copy of these exchanges will also be forwarded to the
Research Ethics Officer.
6) Applications judged to require approval outside the departmental
committee, including those deemed to involve more than minimal risk, deception,
or cases for which conflicts of interest reduce it size to fewer than
three members will be forwarded to MREB for further consideration.
7) A copy of all approved applications and accompanying
materials may be kept in the department. The Research Ethics Officer will
keep the final approved copy and accompanying documentation.
8) Applications that are rejected can be appealed through
the McMaster Research Ethics Board, who’s decision is final.
(B) FOR COURSE BASED RESEARCH ONLY:
1) Course protocols can be approved for up to three years,
assuming the instructor and the format of the course being taught remain
the same. In the fourth year, a new course application must be submitted.
2) In the case of sessional instructors, applications for
approval must be submitted on a year by year basis to ensure conformity
to regulations, unless the instructor and the format of the course being
taught remain the same. (See point 1 above).
TYPES OF ETHICS REVIEW APPLICATIONS FOR SREC:
1) Course-Based Research Involving Human Participants
When the intent of the course is to teach professional skills
and/or requires undergraduate research projects involving human subjects
conducted as part of a research study, an application for approval of
course-based research can be made to the SSREC, provided that the research
meets the criteria outlined in the Instructors’ Guidelines for Course-Based
Student Projects. Those guidelines can be found at the web-site address
2) Individual Undergraduate Student Applications
Approval must be obtained from the departmental SREC when,
either the course-based research project does not meet the criteria outlined
in the Instructors Guidelines, or the research is conducted as part of
an independent research study (Eg. Sociology 4M03; 4N03; 4MM6). The research
project must meet the criteria for assessing minimal risk or be referred
GUIDELINES AND INSTRUCTIONS:
Generic forms for individual Undergraduate Student Applications,
Course-Based Research Projects, Protocol Review Forms, and Final Reports,
as established by the McMaster Research Ethics Board, will be utilized
for the sake of uniformity.
Website for McMaster Research Ethics Board:
Webpage for Instructors’ Guidelines for Course Based
Webpage for Student Application:
Webpage for Preparing an Information Letter/Consent Form:
Webpage for the Sociology Student Research Ethics Committee
Terms of Reference: http://www.mcmaster.ca/ors/ethics/info_ssrec.htm
Update December 14, 2010