Labour Studies Student Research Ethics Committee (LSSREC)

2008 - 2009 Members Labour Studies Student Research Ethics Committee

R. Storey , Labour Studies, Chair
Student research from the Labour Studies Progamme will be reviewed by the Sociology SREC, chaired by R. Storey in 2008 - 2009 <Sociology SREC)

Link to the Course Form (New)

Link to Individual Student Form

Link to the MBA/Undergraduate Individual Application Form

Link to Guidelines for Course Based Projects Involving Human Subjects

Labour Studies Research Ethics Committee Terms of  Reference

History: These procedures were approved at meetings of faculty in the Labour Studies Programme in the Summer of 2002. They were approved by the McMaster Research Ethics Board (MREB) at its first meeting in September 2002. They will become effective and apply to all Labour Studies courses.

Purpose: These procedures were adapted from those developed by the Psychology Student Research Ethics Committee (PSREC) 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 at:

Adoption and modification: These procedures, and any subsequent changes to them, must be approved by a majority of the faculty members in the Labour Studies Programme and by the McMaster Research Ethics Board.

Scope: All research involving humans as research participants must be reviewed by either the MREB or Departmental Student Research Ethics Committee (SREC) (TCPS, Article 1.1a). Research is defined as "a systematic investigation to establish facts, principles or generalizable knowledge" (TCPS, Article 1.1.a). 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 1.1b, 1.1c, 2.3, 3.3).

The Labour Studies SREC shall review research conducted by undergraduate students when (1) it is conducted as part of an undergraduate course offered by the Labour Studies Programme , and (2) it is not part of a faculty member's research program already subject to review by any other Ethics Board (TCPS, Article 1.4). Undergraduate research for the Labour Studies Programme that is supervised by faculty outside the Labour Studies Programme shall be reviewed by the Labour Studies SREC unless it is subject to review by the MREB or by another Ethics Board in compliance with the Tri-Council Policy. Research conducted by graduate students and faculty members in the Labour Studies Programme must be reviewed by the MREB (and, when relevant, the Ethics Board of the institution where the research will be conducted).

Composition of Labour Studies SREC: The Labour Studies Student Research Ethics Committee (LSSREC) is comprised of three faculty members which includes the Chair. A student from graduate studies and an undergraduate student may be added to complete the membership. The Committee is encouraged to consult relevant experts on methodological issues within and outside the Labour Studies Programme as necessary.

Selection of members: Members (and any necessary replacements) shall be appointed by the Chairs of the Departments or by the Dean of Social Sciences. Faculty members shall serve for staggered 3-year terms; students, for 1-year terms. Terms are renewable. Membership shall be reported to the MREB.

Rationale for the composition of the Committee: The initial composition of the committee will be only from the Labour Studies Programme. It is anticipated that there will not be a volume sufficient enough to warrant a programme committee with combined membership from other departments and programmes.

Information 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 LSSREC or MREB (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 below.

In each case, the application must include:

  • The purpose of the project
  • How participants will be recruited
  • Method: What will happen from the participant's perspective, including a description of any written instruments to be used (e.g. survey questionnaires).
  • The process for obtaining the initial consent and monitoring for ongoing consent, including a copy of any proposed consent form
  • Possible benefits
  • Possible harms and dangers
  • How possible harms and dangers will be minimized
  • Whether or w the participants will be informed about the results of the research or will have access to research results.
  • Confidentiality of the data
  • Steps taken to educate the undergraduate student(s) about ethical issues in research

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 MREB.

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 Labour Studies Programme and downloaded from the Office of Research Services Ethics in Human Research web page. Applications may be made by e-mail attachment or by submitting 5 hard copies.

Process and procedure: Applications should be sent to the Chair of the Departmental Committee 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. Course applications are approved only for three years barring any significant changes to the original protocol, which would require submitting an addendum or a new application. After three years, course applications must be resubmitted for evaluation.

Whenever possible, the committee shall make decisions in face-to-face meetings (TCPS, Articles 1.7, 1.9). 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, Article 1.12).

Referral to McMaster Research Ethics Board: The LSSREC may refer an application to the MREB. Examples of situations in which referral would be appropriate include research that the Laobur Studies SREC 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.

Appeals: 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 LSSREC may be appealed to the MREB, whose decision shall be final.

Other responsibilities: The LSSREC shall also consider any other ethical issues that arise which concern Labour Studies undergraduates and research with human participants, such as undergraduate education about ethics.

Reconsideration of these procedures: These procedures shall be reviewed not later than June 2003.

Last Updated Octobner 2, 2007