McMaster University



Faculty Guidelines

Examples of Projects and Activities

1. Projects that are not eligible for Course-Based Research Project Approval

Projects that have any of the following characteristics are subject to individual ethics review and are not eligible for course-based research project approval:

• Projects that are a direct extension of the course instructor’s research;
• Projects involving more than minimal risk as defined by the Tri-Council Policy Statement;
• Projects applicable to a Ph.D. or Masters student’s own work;
• Projects where the participants are vulnerable participants such as children, persons who are not legally competent to consent, mentally incompetent persons, legal wards or the therapeutically dependent;
• Projects which involve any personal, sensitive or incriminating topics or questions which could put the participants or the researcher(s) at risk;
• Projects which involve deception;
• Projects which involve manipulation of the behaviour of participants beyond the range of “normal” classroom activity or daily life;
• Projects which involve physically invasive contact with the research participants.

2. Projects that are research but which are eligible for Course-Based Research Project Approval

Projects which have the following characteristics are subject to review but may be approved as Course-Based Research Projects:

• Projects where primary data is being collected and organized for analysis and distribution or dissemination;
• Projects designed to answer research questions;
• Projects involving a risk of disclosure, publication, or use of data outside the classroom or outside the organization being studied;
• Projects where students are asked to sign a non-disclosure or confidentiality agreement;
• Projects where students require consent to use individual identifiers in reports or classroom presentations because of confidentiality or privacy concerns;
• Projects where “ownership of information” or “product development” as a result of a project may become an issue;

3. Projects that do not require either Individual or Course-Based Research Project Approval

Projects and activities that do not require ethics review include:

• Projects involving the use of records or information that is in the public domain, including the use of anonymous secondary data and surveys or questionnaires that have already been published;
• Projects involving the use of naturalistic observation where the participants are seeking public visibility and participant confidentiality and anonymity are ensured;
• Practicums or job training projects where students are fully integrated into the organization’s operational practices and are not conducting research;
• Projects where the intent is to use the information to provide advice, diagnosis, identification of appropriate interventions or general advice for a client;
• Projects where the intent is to develop skills which are standard practice within a profession (e.g. observation, assessment, intervention, evaluation, auditing); or
• Projects where the information gathering processes are part of the normal relationship between the student and the participants.

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