Research Ethics Board
The College of the Rockies carries the commitment to ensure that high ethical standards in research involving humans are upheld. The College of the Rockies Research Ethics Board has been established to ensure all research completed at the college is in accordance with national ethical standards.
The College REB is an independent committee, acting on behalf of the College, with the primary responsibility to evaluate and monitor the quality and ethical standards and principles of College research activities that involve human subjects. No research involving human subjects at College is to commence until and ethics review, based on a Proportionate Ethics Review is completed.
The review process is guided by the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS2, 2022) and adheres to the principles of respect for persons, concern for welfare and justice.
How do I know if I should apply to the College REB?
It is the responsibility of the College REB to review all research activities involving human participants. Approval from the College REB must be obtained prior to recruitment or commencement of any research activity. This includes the completion of an application and submission of all research protocols, consent documents and recruitment materials.
Any research project conducted by any individual connected to the College, which involves human participants must conform to College policy 7.1.2 Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Human Subjects. This policy applies to all research involving human participants and covers all of the following situations:
- Inclusion of College employees and/or students, either as researchers or participants;
- Affiliation between the College and other institutions and/or members of the public (including, but not limited to, partnerships and/or sponsorship);
- Non-college individuals or organizations using the College name or its resources and/or conducting research on College students or employees.
Research Ethics Board review by another institution does not satisfy the requirements for review by the College REB and will be required to submit an application for REB approval prior to the commencement of any research project.
Some activities and studies are exempt from review. Please contact the College of the Rockies REB Chair, Daniel Wiens if you have any questions.
TCPS 2 CORE Tutorial Link
As part of the review process researchers are asked to complete the TCPS 2 CORE (course on research ethics) tutorial:
A certificate of completion must be submitted with the REB application.
Determining Type of Review Required
All research proposals and activities involving human subjects will be reviewed through a Proportionate Ethics Review process based on the ethical principle that, while all research involving human subjects must be reviewed adequately to ensure the safety of participants, the greater the potential for harm or risk the greater the scrutiny of the review.
Depending on your research project you may be eligible for:
- Full Board Review: The majority of applications to the College REB involving human participants will need to go through full board review.
- Delegated Review: The College REB chair may perform delegated review for minimal risk research.
- Course-Based Review: In class research projects conducted at the College of the Rockies involving human subjects must undergo separate course-based review.
The following tool via Alberta Innovates can help you to determine the level of risk of your research. ARECCI Ethics Screening Tool
Research Activities NOT requiring College REB Review:
The TCPS 2 differentiates research requiring REB review from non-research activities that have been traditionally employed methods and techniques similar to those employed in research. The following activities are not considered research and do not require review by the College REB. It must be noted that in these situations professional or disciplinary associations or best practice guidelines will guide ethical decision making:
- Research that relies exclusively on publicly available information when the information is: 1) legally accessible to the public and appropriately protected by law or 2) the information is publicly accessible and there is no reasonable expectation of privacy (TCPS 2, Art. 2.2)
- REB review is not required for research involving the observation of people in public places where: 1) it does not involve any intervention staged by the researcher, or direct interaction with the individuals or groups, 2) individuals or groups targeted for observation have no reasonable expectation of privacy, and 3) Any dissemination of research results does not allow identification of specific individuals (TCPS 2, Art. 2.3)
- Quality assurance and quality improvement studies, program evaluation activities and performance reviews, or testing within normal educational environments when used exclusively for assessment, management or improvement purposes, do not constitute research for purposes of this Policy and do not fall within the scope of College REB review (TCPS 2, Art. 2.5)
- Creative practice activities, in and of themselves, do not require REB review. However, research that employs creative practice to obtain responses from participants that will be analyzed to answer a research question is subject to REB review (TCPS, Art. 2.6)
Delegated and Full Board Review
Applications to the College REB will be forwarded for delegated or full board review. Projects from other institutions with prior REB board approval will go through a delegated review process pending that the project is in good standing and there have been no modifications to the study protocol. Please expect two weeks for delegated review and four weeks for full board review. The review process begins when the researcher submits all of their application materials (see list at bottom of page).
Delegated review and approval can be provided by the College REB Chair or by another College REB member delegated by the chair or by a College REB subcommittee. Such review will be well-documented and reported to the full College REB and Vice President of Education and Applied Research. Full board review is the default requirement for research involving humans, however, an applicant may request from the College REB Chair a delegated review for minimal risk research, and the Chair will consider the request based on the following aspects of the proposal:
- Protection of participant confidentiality
- Vulnerable populations
- Whether research meets the criteria of minimal risk
Research involving wavers or alteration to elements of informed consent, including deception, shall not be eligible for delegated review. Delegated reviewers retain the prerogative to refer any research proposal or matter related to their review to the full College REB for review or consideration.
- Study Protocol (literature review, research questions, methodology, methods, recruitment strategies, proposed analysis, confidentiality and data protection must be addressed)
- College REB Delegated and Full Review Application Form (under “Ethics Forms” tab)
- Consent Forms (templates available under “Ethics Forms” tab)
- Study tools, questionnaires, recruitment tools/scripts as appropriate to your research
- If you have previous REB approval from another board please submit your approval letters with your application package (this will allow your study to go through Delegated Review)
The College of the Rockies recognizes that class projects and other student activities may be created to develop student research skills. These activities may be carried out by individual students, small groups or as a single class project. The College Policy: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Human Subjects and the Tri-Council Policy Statement (TCPS2, 2018) requires instructors /faculty completing student research activities involving human subjects to submit a course-based research application to the College REB and receive approval from the College REB chair and Dean prior to the start of the project. Course-based research applications typically encompass assignments built into course outcomes. Please note there is a different process for Capstone projects. Students wishing to do research outside of a course would be required to go through delegated/full board review.
All course-based research projects will have an approval period of three years.
It is recommended that faculty considers including the TCPS 2 Tutorial into their research courses.
To determine if your course-based research project requires ethical review please refer to the criteria outlined on the application form:
What to submit with your package:
- Completed Course Based Research Application Form (See “Ethics Forms” tab)
- Copy of your course outline and syllabus
- Copy of assignment description
Please see the “Ethics Form” tab on this web page for templates for consent forms for student use.
If a student submits a research project in the scope of the assignment that you feel may require additional REB review please contact the REB chair via this website.
Capstone projects in the College will go through the process of delegated ethics review. Projects which exceed minimal risk to participants may require full board review. Capstone projects are monitored by the course instructor but must have ethical approval if they involve human subjects. Students engaging in capstone work must submit the following:
- Completed Ethics Application for Delegated/Full Board Review
- Copy of the study protocol
- Consent Forms
- Any other questionnaires, surveys, or research tools
All students engaging in capstone research MUST complete the TCPS 2 Tutorial and submit a form of completion to the REB Chair and their instructor. The TCPS 2 Tutorial is linked via this website.
It is important that students provide sufficient time for ethical review of their projects because there may be revisions required to their protocol, tools, consent forms or application. Students will be given a formal letter for their files once their research study has been approved by the REB. Please note that students will be required to submit a “Study Completion Form” the end of their project to close their file with the REB (see “Ethics Forms” tab on this web page).
If you have any questions please contact the REB Chair.
Policies and Procedures