School of Business Student Research Ethics Committee (SBSREC)

2011 - 2012 Members School of Business Student Research Ethics Committee (SBSREC)

A. Danielova, School of Business Chair
M. Kacker, School of Business
R. Wu, School of Business
A.Carruthers, PhD candidate
M. Zanhour PhD candidate
tba, MBA Academic Advisor
undergrad, tva

Course Form
Link to Individual Form (New)
Guidelines for Course Based Projects Involving Human Subjects
School of Business Guidelines for Determing Whether a Student Project Requires Ethics Review

Sample Forms
Sample Consent Form
School of Business Student Project Letter of Information
Marketing Student Project Agreement

This policy is intended to bring the School of Business into conformity with the Tri-Council Policy Statement on Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS).   This policy is authored by the Government of Canada’s Panel on Research Ethics which oversees the development of ethical policy guidelines for Canada’s three major research funding councils: the Canadian Institute for Health Research Council; the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSREC); and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).  All quotations and references in this policy are from that document.

All student projects involving humans as research subjects must be subjected to ethical review by either the University Research Ethics Board or a Departmental Research Ethics Committee (TCPS, Article 2.1) .  This includes projects conducted by students as part of course requirements, even when that student project is supervised by an individual who is not affiliated with the University.  Student projects requiring review include experimental protocols, projects involving naturalistic observation, interviews, questionnaires, 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 2.1 2.2 10.3 12.3) .


The SBSREC shall review projects conducted by students when it (1) is conducted as part of an MBA or undergraduate course given by the School of Business and (2) is not part of a faculty member’s research program already subject to review by any other Ethics Board (TCPS, Article 6.1).   Course student projects that are supervised by individuals outside the School of Business shall be reviewed by the SBSREC unless it is subject to review by the University Research Ethics Board or by another Ethics Board in compliance with the Tri-Council Policy. Student project research conducted by students and faculty members that is not part of an undergraduate or an MBA course must be reviewed by the University Research Ethics Board (and, when relevant, the Ethics Board of the institution where the student project research will be conducted).

Composition of the SBSREC:

The Committee shall consist of 3 faculty members, an undergraduate student and an MBA student. While an undergraduate and MBA student is recommended, in 2007-2008 the committee recruited two PhD students from the School of Business. Since the guidelines require that this membership shall encompass expertise in various methodologies used in business research and in the ethical issues that arise in such research, one of the faculty members shall be from the Marketing, Policy and International Business Area, one from the Human Resources and Management Area, and the third from one other Area. The Committee is encouraged to consult relevant experts within and outside the School of Business, as necessary.

The Chair and members (and any necessary replacements) shall be appointed by the Dean of the School of Business.  Faculty members shall serve for staggered 3-year terms; students, for 1-year terms. Terms are renewable. Membership shall be reported to the University Research Ethics Board by the Dean of the School of Business.


Applications may be made for generic projects to be conducted by members of a class or for individual projects.  Approval of a generic project for a class by the SBSREC obviates the need for individual projects in that class to be approved by the SBSREC separately, so long as they conform to the terms approved by the SBSREC for the generic project.  It is the responsibility of the course instructor to ensure that all projects in the course meet those generic terms or to bring them to the SBSREC for specific approval.  Although students may be involved in preparing an application, the final application must come from and be signed by the supervisor or course instructor.  Student projects may not begin until the SBSREC or the University Research Ethics Board (if the application has been referred there) has given its approval.

Application forms are available from the Chair of the School of Business Student Research Committee, or from the secretariat of the SREC’s in the Office of Research Services.  Applications may be made by E-mail attachment or by submitting 5  hard copies and should be sent to the Chair of the SBSREC, or the secretariat of the SREC’s well in advance of the date at which the research is to be started.

Michael Wilson, Ethics Officer, Office of Research Services
905-525-9140 ext. 23142

Process and Procedures:

In reaching its decisions, the SBSREC will be guided by the principles outlined in the Tri-Council Policy, especially the ethical framework described in its introductory section, Chapter 3 on the Consent Process, and Chapter 5 on Privacy and Confidentiality.

Applications will be approved only for the academic year in which they are made.  Applications are valid for renewal for a period of two years, but after that must be resubmitted.  Renewal is contingent on there being no changes to the ethical concern of the course student project, and can be made by submitting an annual renewal/progress form.

Whenever possible, the SBSREC shall make decisions in face-to-face meetings (TCPS, Articles  6.9, 6.10 ). However, proposals that fit the Tri-Council’s definition of minimal risk without the least doubt may be reviewed and approved by E-mail or mail circulation.  Approval requires at least three approving votes. However, it is anticipated that the SBSREC will normally reach a consensus and, if necessary, will work with the applicant to improve the initial proposal.

If the SBSREC is reviewing an application in which a SBSREC member has a personal interest, that member shall not be involved in the decision (TCPS, Article 7.3) .

The Secretariat of the  Student Research Ethics Committees, from the Office of Research Services, shall supply clerical support for the SBSREC. Applications, records of decisions, and minutes of the SBSREC meetings shall be kept for 5 years ( TCPS, Article 6.17) . The SBSREC Chair shall prepare an annual report for the University Board about the proposals reviewed and approved.

The SBSREC may refer an application to the University Research Ethics Board. Examples of situations in which referral would be appropriate are research that the SBSREC 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 SBSREC may be appealed to the University Research Ethics Board, whose decision shall be final.

The SBSREC shall also consider any other ethical issues that arise which concern research with human subjects in the context of course teaching.

Adoption, Modification and Review:

These procedures, and any subsequent changes to them, must be approved by the Faculty of the School of Business and by the University Research Ethics Board. These procedures shall be reviewed not later than June 2001 and thereafter, at least once every five years.

Approved by the Faculty of the School of Business and the McMaster Research Ethics Board December 19, 2000

Last Update December 14, 2010tcps2