Frequently Asked Questions
General Research Ethics Questions
If the Dawson Research Office has not previously approved your research project, please contact the Research Coordinator for an initial assessment and to discuss your project’s anticipated needs.
You must apply for institutional approval and ethics review prior to starting research involving human participants at Dawson College.
Research projects exempt from ethics review:
- rely exclusively on publicly available information about individuals or institutions (Article 2.2). Some research is exempt from REB review because protections are available by other means. Research that relies EXCLUSIVELY on information that is publicly available through a mechanism set out by legislation or regulation and that is protected by law or in the public domain and the individuals to whom the information refers have no reasonable expectation of privacy is exempt from REB review.
- involve observation of people in public places that is not staged by the researcher(s), and do not allow for the identification of the individuals (Article 2.3). Research involving naturalistic observation in public places is exempt from REB review as long as ALL of the following criteria are met:
- it does not involve any intervention staged by the researcher,
- it does not involve direct interaction with the individual or groups,
- the individuals or groups targeted for observation have no reasonable expectation of privacy and,
- any dissemination of research results does not allow identification of specific individuals.
- rely exclusively on secondary use of anonymous information (Article 2.4). Research that relies EXCLUSIVELY on secondary use of anonymous information (human or biological) does not require REB review.Anonymous information is not to be confused with anonymized information. Anonymous refers to research data that never had identifiers (e.g. name, student ID, SIN, email, etc.) associated with it at the point of collection. However, if two or more anonymous data sets are linked and there is a reasonable probability that this linkage could generate identifiable information, then REB REVIEW IS REQUIRED.
In unclear situations, it is the REB’s mandate to determine whether ethics review is required. When in doubt, and to ensure ethical standards are consistently upheld, researchers are asked to submit a REB application or a detailed description of the research project and any supporting documents to the REB Coordinator. The REB will then determine whether an ethics review is required.
It is recommended that applications be submitted at least 4 months prior to any time-sensitive deadlines as review turnaround times may vary depending on the availability of reviewers, the volume of applications received by the REB, the level of risk associated with the research project, and whether revisions are required.
After you have submitted your ethics application, Dawson REB Application Form and supporting documents, the REB Coordinator will conduct an administrative review to ensure that the form is filled out properly, and that all relevant supporting documents are included. If there are any items missing or the application is not complete, the REB Coordinator will notify you and you will be asked to resubmit your duly completed application with the required documents.
After the administrative review is complete, your application will then undergo a preliminary REB review and be assigned a delegated or full board review, depending on the risk level.
If you would like to know the status of your submission, please contact the REB Coordinator.
External and Graduate Researchers Questions
Any research project involving human participants conducted at Dawson College, or in its name, must be submitted to Dawson’s REB for ethics review. Dawson is currently not party to any formal agreements that would authorize another institution’s REB to review applications, or grant ethics approval, on behalf of Dawson’s REB.
If a researcher has obtained ethics approval from another REB, this approval may factor into the REB Chair’s decision to recommend a delegated ethics review of the project. However, ethics approval from another REB does not replace the need for an autonomous review by Dawson’s own REB.
You should contact the Research Coordinator for an initial assessment to discuss anticipated needs for the research project. You must then apply for and obtain both institutional approval and ethics approval prior to starting research at Dawson.
Please note that external researchers will first need to obtain ethics approval from their home institution before the Dawson REB will review their research.
Yes. If you are recruiting members of the Dawson community (student, faculty member, or staff) your project is subject to ethics review by the Dawson REB. You should also contact the Research Coordinator as institutional approval may also be required.
You will need to obtain ethics approval from your home institution (the institution that will be issuing your graduate degree) before submitting an application to the Dawson REB.
Course-Based Research Questions
Yes. As per Article 2.1 of the TCPS 2 (2022), “[research requiring review] includes course-based research activities, the primary purpose of which is pedagogical, because of the possible risks to those recruited to participate in such activities, and the fact that, from their perspective, such activities may appear indistinguishable from those that meet this Policy’s definition of research”.
However, ethics review of minimal risk course-based research (CBR) activities with a primarily pedagogical purpose can be delegated to non-REB members. Please visit the CBR page for updates on the development of the Dawson CBR guidelines.