Ethics

Everything you need to know about about conducting research with participants.

Ethics approvals for research

We strictly adhere to the Tri-Council ethics policy for research involving human participants. This applies to all faculty research, regardless of funding source.

Complete the tutorial

Complete the TCPS 2 Tutorial Course on Research Ethics (CORE) before you submit your ethics application. Save the electronic certificate.

Take the CORE course

Login to IRISS

Login to IRISS and complete the application.

Login to IRISS

Questions?

Contact the Conjoint Faculties Research Ethics Board.

Email CFREB

The Tri-Council consists of Canada's three main research funding agencies

  • The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
  • The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)

  • The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)

For more information, please see:

When do I require ethics approval?

Do you plan to conduct research that involves human subjects?

If so, you are required to seek and receive ethics approval from the appropriate Research Ethics Board/committee before proceeding with your study.

Faculty and graduate research ethics applications

Submit your application to the Conjoint Faculties Research Ethics Board via the Institutional Research Information Support System (IRISS).

For more information, please contact cfreb@ucalgary.ca

Course-based Ethics Approvals for instructors

Are you preparing to offer a course that will include assignments requiring your students to conduct research with human participants? Your course must receive research ethics approval before any research activities can begin.

Complete the tutorial

Complete the TCPS 2 Tutorial Course on Research Ethics (CORE) before you submit your ethics application. Save the electronic certificate.

Take the CORE course

Download and read the guide

Be sure to download and read the CFREB Guidance for Faculty Level Course-Based Instructors.

Download the guide

Download the application form

Complete the ethics application form. Be sure to attach all required documents, including your CORE certificate.

Download application form | (Word)

Submit your documents

Email all documents to the Faculty of Arts Research Facilitator

Email Kinga Olszewska

Questions?

Please contact the Faculty of Arts Research Facilitator Kinga Olszewska.

Email Kinga Olszewska

Don't have course-based ethics approval?

The project needs approval by the Faculty of Arts Ethics Committee.

Course-based ethics approval is a way to expedite review when a significant number of student projects in a course involve human participants.

The Faculty of Arts Research Ethics Committee can temporarily delegate limited ethics committee authority to an instructor of a specific undergraduate or graduate course.

In order to delegate this authority, the ethics committee must ensure the instructor knows enough about the relevant ethical guidelines that apply to his/her students’ research.

As an instructor, you must submit a separate application for each course. If you are teaching multiple sessions of the same course in a given year, then you may submit a single application. Download and fill out the application form, attach relevant appendices, and submit an electronic copy of all documentation by email to Kinga Olszewska, PhD, Research Grants and Awards Facilitator. Apply before the course begins, or at the very least, well in advance of the research activity. Clarification or revisions to your application may be requested by the committee prior to approval.

In cases where projects involve more than minimal risk, the approval process is different. The protocol has to be sent to the Faculty Committee, which will pass it on to the CFREB. The CFREB may review the protocol in a face-to-face meeting with the applicant(s) and then make a decision.

This depends largely on the nature of the assignment and of potential risk to participants and students.

  1. Assignment guidelines

    In order to avoid the need for individual student ethics clearances, please ensure that your assignment guidelines contain:

    • either information about supervised recruitment of study subjects (i.e. you as an instructor have recruited subjects) OR
    • explicit description of steps for recruitment, including suggested groups of subjects (e.g. family member, peers) where interactions carry only a minimal risk (Q #3 in ethics application). The participants of the research assignment should not include vulnerable populations. Informed consent forms should also be included in the application. 
  2. Research activities

    Research activities, including questionnaires, should only include topics that contain minimal risk, as well as ensure complete confidentiality and privacy. If these cannot be ensured, please address this explicitly both in the application (Q# 7) and with the students (in the assignment guidelines). When applying for ethics certificate for your course, please ensure that you address the questions of safe data access and storage (Q #8 in ethics application).

  3. Individual student projects

    Individual student projects may be reviewed if the course matter and learning outcomes dictate a more independent research experience for students. In these cases, in addition to the course-based ethics approval the instructor receives, students may be asked to send in the descriptions of the their projects, including questions they intend to ask the study‘s participants, and the informed consent form.

The University of Calgary policy for retention of documents both confidential and non-confidential, including data, is 5 years.

TCPS Article 3.2 (d) directs that informed consent includes “information on the participant’s right to request the withdrawal of data or human biological materials, including any limitations on the feasibility of that withdrawal.” Thus, when consent is requested without information about that right to request data withdrawal, a rationale must be provided in the application and in the consent form. Note that the burden is on the researcher to make sure that the participant is both advised of their right to have data withdrawn and given an opportunity to do so to the extent possible.

If you are renewing within three years of initial approval and there have been minor changes, please send an email to Kinga Olszewska, describing the specific changes, and attach any relevant documents.

After three years, a full application is required once again. This is to enable a completely new set of committee members to review the application, since they are responsible for the review authority delegated to instructors. In addition, over time, ethics policies and procedures at the national level, university level, or faculty level, are occasionally updated to account for changing public and academic concerns regarding research ethics.

Course-based projects may qualify as a standard protocol, and hence be granted approval that is valid for a period of three years if:

  • they are repeated across semesters
  • all students will pursue similar questions and employ similar methodologies

Note: If you are submitting a yearly renewal to an ethics certificate within three years of initial approval and there are no changes, please send an email to Kinga Olszewska requesting renewal, and state that there are no changes.

Course-based ethics approvals for undergraduate students

Are you an undergraduate student performing research with human participants? Follow these steps to make sure you have ethics approval.

Complete the tutorial

Complete the TCPS 2 Tutorial Course on Research Ethics (CORE) before you submit your ethics application. Save the electronic certificate.

Take the CORE course

Download the form

Complete the ethics application form. Be sure to attach all required documents, including your CORE certificate.

Download application form | (Word)

Submit your documents

Email all documents to the Research Grants and Awards Facilitator. CC your supervisor.

Email Kinga Olszewska

Psychology student?

Apply directly to the Chair of the Department of Psychology Research Ethics Board for ethics approval.

Email Daniel McGrath

Arts research team

Associate Dean George Colpitts

George Colpitts

The Associate Dean, Research, Graduate Education & Faculty Development advances the faculty’s research activities and oversees research, grants and graduate education in the faculty.

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Associate Dean Steig Johnson

Steig Johnson

The Associate Dean, Research and Infrastructure oversees the Canada Research Chair program, promotes international research collaborations, identifies needs for research infrastructure and manages external review processes.

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Research Grants and Awards Facilitator Kinga Olszewska

Kinga Olszewska

The Research Grants and Awards Facilitator provides research career development support to academic staff.

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