Research Ethics

The department  of Psychology at York University is committed to the highest standards of integrity.  All projects involving the use of Human Subjects, Animals and Bio hazardous Materials are subject to review by the appropriate University committee. York University has formulated policies for the conduct of research involving all three of these areas. It is the policy of the University that researchers conducting research involving human subjects, animals and/or biohazardous agents must obtain approval of their research from the relevant ethics committee prior to commencing research activities.

Should any person have a concern  or question,  please contact Wendy Jokhoo at (416)736-2100 extension 55201 or Alison Collins-Mrakas at  (416)736-2100 extension 55914  both of whom are  located at York  University  Office of Research Ethics.

 

FACULTY RESEARCH

All faculty research involving human participants (even if it is minimal risk) must obtain approval from York's Human Participants Review Committee (HRPC).

Information can be obtained from the Office of Research Ethics.  Faculty can find additional  information on ethics  at: How and Where to get Ethics Review & Approval.

For  information on obtaining ethics approval at York University, please email Wendy Jokhoo or phone 416-736-2100 x55201.

RESEARCH BY UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS

All research undertaken by undergraduate students under the auspices of the Department of Psychology must be supervised by a full-time faculty member from the Department or by a qualified supervisor approved by the Undergraduate Program Director.

All undergraduate students conducting research (whether using human participants or not) must complete the Tri-Council Policy Statement (TCPS2) tutorial.  Once completed students should submit one copy of the certificate of completion to their supervisor and one copy to the undergraduate research coordinator at psyugres@yorku.ca. After completing this tutorial there are 3 pathways for obtaining ethics review and approval for research involving human participants. Appropriate ethics approval must be obtained before any research begins.

1) If the supervisor intends to be involved in the dissemination of the results, use the findings as a pilot study (or is for any other reason considered a collaborator), then the supervisor is responsible for obtaining ethics approval from York University’s Human Participants Review Committee (HPRC). In order to develop the ethical competence of undergraduate researchers an Individualized Protocol must also be completed by the student with the guidance and instruction of the supervisor. Documentation of ethics approval from the University HPRC (i.e., letter from ORE) and the Individualized Protocol must be submitted to the Undergraduate research coordinator at psyugres@yorku.ca. This submission ensures;

  • The department has a record of all undergraduate research.
  • The undergraduate student has been oriented to research ethics through the completion of an Individualized Protocol. If the research is being done in fulfillment of an undergraduate course (including 4001) then upon completion of the course the supervisor and student must complete and submit a Course Director Reporting Form to the psychreb@yorku.ca secretary of the Psychology Research Ethics Board (REB).

2) If the supervisor is serving a purely supervisory, non collaborative role (typically a course director), and the proposed research does not involve animals, and is minimal risk, then an Individualized Protocol must also be completed by the student with the guidance and instruction of the supervisor. The student must submit the  Individualized Protocol to the Psychology REB accompanied by a cover letter from the supervisor indicating they are serving a purely supervisory role for the project. The cover letter and Individualized Protocol and all related documents (i.e. consent forms, debriefing forms, research protocols etc.) should be submitted to the psychreb@yorku.ca secretary of the Psychology Ethics Board. This submission to the Psychology REB ensures;

  • The proposed research has been reviewed and approved by an ethics review board.
  •   The department has a record of all undergraduate research. Upon completion of research the supervisor and student must complete and submit a Course Director Reporting Form to the psychreb@yorku.ca secretary of the Psychology Research Ethics Board (REB).

3) If the supervisor is serving a purely supervisory, non collaborative role and simultaneously supervising multiple students who are all conducting the same/similar research in the context of a course like 4175; and the proposed research does not involve animals, and is minimal risk, then an Generic Protocol must be completed by the course instructor / supervisor. The instructor must submit the Generic Protocol and related documents to the psychreb@yorku.ca secretary of the Psychology Research Ethics Board (REB). In such circumstances, the course director/supervisor provides oversight, ensuring that each undergraduate researcher is conducting their research ethically in accordance with regulations and standards stipulated in the Generic Protocol. This submission of the Generic Protocol to the Psychology REB ensures the proposed research has been reviewed and approved by an ethics review board. In order to develop the ethical competence of undergraduate researchers an Individualized Protocol must also be completed by the student with the guidance and instruction of the course director. Once complete the Individualized Protocol must be submitted to the Undergraduate research coordinator psyugres@yorku.ca. This submission of the Individualized Protocol to the Undergraduate research coordinator ensures a) the department has a record of all undergraduate research and b) that the undergraduate student has been oriented to research ethics. Upon completion of research the supervisor and student must complete and submit a Course Director Reporting Form  to the psychreb@yorku.ca secretary of the Psychology Research Ethics Board (REB). Undergraduate students conducting research that has been approved via a  Generic Protocol (i.e. within a course such as 4170) are not normally allowed access to the Undergraduate Research Participant Pool.

RESEARCH BY GRADUATE STUDENTS

All research undertaken by graduate students under the auspices of the Department of Psychology (i.e. course based research, major research papers (Academic Breadth Comprehensive), theses, dissertations and independent research) must be supervised by a full-time faculty member from the Department or by a qualified supervisor approved by the Graduate Program Director.

All graduate students conducting research (whether using human participants or not) must complete the Tri-Council Policy Statement (TCPS2) tutorial.  Once completed students should submit one copy of the certificate of completion to their supervisor and one copy to the graduate office. The certificate will then be placed in the student’s file. The graduate program director or assistant will be asked to confirm its presence when they forward forms to the Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS). Appropriate ethics approval must be obtained before any research begins.

  • If the research is being done in collaboration with the graduate student's supervisor, or as part of the supervisor's program of research, then research protocols must be submitted to the University HPRC for review and approval. If the research is being used for a Thesis, or Dissertation, once ethics approval has been obtained from the University HPRC, the graduate student must submit a TD1, and TD4 and letter of approval from the University HPRC to the psychology graduate office. If the research is being used for an ABC paper, once ethics approval has been obtained from the University HPRC, the graduate student must submit an explanatory cover letter and the letter of approval from the University HPRC to the psychology graduate office.
  • If the graduate student has received funding to support the research, then research protocols must be submitted to the University HPRC for review and approval. (The definition of “funded” does NOT include funding in the form of student OGS scholarships, SSHRC fellowships, NSERC scholarships, or CIHR awards. These awards are intended to support students through their studies and do not require reports from students on the specific research activities conducted. The definition of “funded” does apply to grants awarded for specific research projects, whether those projects be the student’s own research projects or research being conducted as part of a faculty member’s funded research project. Typically, for “funded” research, granting agencies require reports of the research conducted.) If the research is being used for a Thesis, or Dissertation, once ethics approval has been obtained from the University HPRC, the graduate student must submit a TD1, and TD4 and letter of approval from the University HPRC to the psychology graduate office. If the research is being used for an ABC paper, once ethics approval has been obtained from the University HPRC, the graduate student must submit an explanatory cover letter and the letter of approval from the University HPRC to the psychology graduate office.
  • If the research is minimal risk, not done in collaboration with the supervisor, not funded and being used for a thesis or dissertation (including a pilot study for a thesis or dissertation) then research protocols including TD1 and TD2 must be submitted to the Department Graduate Office. After reviewing these forms, the Graduate Office will forward them to the Faculty of Graduate Studies for ethical review.
  • If the research is minimal risk, not done in collaboration with the supervisor, not funded and being used for the ABC paper or independent research (i.e. not directly related to a graduate program requirement) then the student must complete a MRP Protocol and submit it, and related documents, to the Department Graduate Office. If the research is being used for an ABC paper the graduate student must submit an explanatory cover letter to the psychology graduate office together with the MRP Protocol. After reviewing these forms, the Graduate Office will forward them to the Psychology Research Ethics Board.
  • If the research is minimal risk, not funded and being conducted in the context of a graduate course then the graduate student must submit an Individualized Protocol or the graduate course instructor must submit a Generic Protocol to the psychreb@yorku.ca secretary of the Psychology Research Ethics Board (REB). Upon completion of research the supervisor and graduate student must complete and submit a  Course Director  Reporting Form to the psychreb@yorku.ca secretary of the Psychology Research Ethics Board (REB).

RESEARCH WITH MINORS (applicable to everyone)

It is your responsibility to complete any appropriate forms and be aware of each organizations unique guidelines and procedures.

York's HPRC has established the following guidelines for research involving minor age participants:
1. For participants under the age of 16, parental consent is required.
2. For minimal risk research involving participants 16 years of age and older, parental consent is not required.
3. For more than minimal risk research involving participants 16 – 17 years of age, parental consent may be required.

As there may be contexts in which the guidelines may not be appropriate, it is advised that when utilizing participants under the age of 18, you should consult with the organization that you are working with and the Office of Research Ethics (ORE) for advice and direction where needed as to the applicable consent processes.

RESEARCH WITH ANIMALS

All research involving animals is governed by the Ontario Animals for Research Act, 1968-69 (the Act), implemented by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Animal Industry Branch (the Ministry), and by the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC). York has an Animal Care Committee (subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Research) which has developed Animal Care Protocol Instructions as well as other documents available on the York Research Webpage on Animal Research (York Passport userid and password required).

No students should be conducting independent research with animals--their projects should all come under the 'umbrella' of their supervisor's work, which will have received approval from York's Animal Care Committee (ACC). So the student should talk to the supervisor to find out how ethics approval is obtained. Each approved animal protocol is given an approval number and there is an official letter from the ACC.

DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGY RESEARCH ETHICS BOARD (REB)

Contact the Undergraduate or Graduate office.

CHOOSING BETWEEN SUBMITTING TO REB OR HPRC

Whether you submit to the departmental REB or HPRC is dependent on whether you are a faculty member , undergraduate student , or graduate student , or conducting fMRI research . Please refer to the appropriate section for the details.

ACCESS RESEARCH ETHICS FORMS & TEMPLATES

Access all relevant forms and templates (such as HPRC Protocol Form, Informed Consent Form Template, Renewal Application etc. ) at this ORE web page, select Resources & Forms from drop down menu.

IMPLEMENTATION OF POLICY AND GUIDELINES RELATED TO RESEARCH AND ETHICS

Responsibility for implementation of policy and guidelines resides in the Office of Research Ethics (ORE)

Ethics FAQ

Researchers conducting surveys on-line must obtain consent from the participants ?

Recognizing that obtaining a signature is not feasible; researchers are advised that consent must be obtained in an alternate manner. Implied consent, meaning that participants do not explicitly consent to participate by signature or by virtue of completing the survey is NOT permitted as per TCPS guidelines. See the Office of Research Ethics (ORE) website on research ethics for further details.

Experiment that uses the fMRI scanner, is this considered minimal risk?

No. All research studies that use fMRI are by definition NOT minimal risk. Ethics for such studies must first be approved by HRPC before the study can be implemented.

Research Ethics Links