Georgian College Research Ethics Board

Research Ethics at Georgian

The Georgian College Research Ethics Board (GCREB) serves to approve proposed or ongoing research involving human subjects that is conducted within or by members of Georgian College.

The general goals of research involving human subjects are to advance human welfare, knowledge and understanding. Georgian College supports research that:

  • enhances curriculum development and renewal
  • creates learning for our staff and students
  • may generate revenue/resources for the college

Required Tutorial on Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS 2 CORE)

One of the first things researchers should do before they design their protocol is complete the online Tri-Council Policy Statement 2 Course on Research Ethics tutorial (TCPS 2 CORE), including these additional research ethics readings:

The Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans – TCPS 2 (2018) describes the policies of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Researchers are required to be familiar with the TCPS 2 (2018) before they apply for ethics approval. The TCPS 2 CORE provides the mechanism for researchers to become acquainted with the TCPS 2, and to provide proof that they have done so.

The Georgian College Research Ethics Board requires proof of completion of TCPS 2 CORE for all investigators. Please submit the TCPS 2 CORE certificates of completion with your application, and ensure all investigators have reviewed the updates made to the TCPS 2 information since their tutorial completion date with particular attention to the following requirements:

  • TCPS2 CORE tutorials completed before April 2011 are no longer valid and must be redone.
    • Note: The TCPS 2 CORE will not generate an updated certificate of completion. Researchers must provide a screenshot of their dashboard as proof that they have redone the modules.

Guidelines and FAQs

Why is research ethics approval required?

International consensus requires that a duly constituted and functioning independent committee review and approve all research projects involving human subjects before the first potential research subject is invited to participate. Independent review reinforces the ethical standards that the researcher and institution strive to meet.

Do I need to get research ethics approval?

The range of research activities requiring review by the Georgian College Research Ethics Board includes all research that involves living human participants, identifiable information about humans, human remains, cadavers, tissues, biological fluids, embryos, fetuses and stem cells, regardless of whether the research is funded or non-funded, is performed by Georgian College students, faculty, support staff, or administrative staff, is a collaborative research undertaking with strategic college or university partners, or is for commercial or information purposes. This also includes individuals not associated with Georgian College who wish to complete research that involves Georgian College employees, students, community members, facilities or resources.

Some research activities, and research-like activities, are exempt from ethics review.

Please refer to Chapter 2 of the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans – TCPS 2 (2018) for more information.

Still not sure whether your project requires ethics review? Try the ARECCI Ethics Screening Tool.

This is primarily a development/educational tool. It could assist researchers to know if their study requires Research Ethics Board approval. It is sometimes difficult to see the risks involved in your own study. If you find while completing the ARECCI Ethics Screening Tool that the ideas in the questions are unfamiliar or if you feel any hesitation, it is highly recommended that you complete Tri-Council Policy Statement 2 Course on Research Ethics tutorial (TCPS 2 CORE) before returning to the ARECCI Ethics Screening Tool. Researchers should contact the Georgian College Research Ethics Board Chair for guidance before deciding not to submit their study. Researchers are advised to save a copy of their ARECCI Ethics Screening Tool results.

What is considered “minimal risk”?

If potential subjects can reasonably be expected to regard the probability and magnitude of possible harms implied by participation in the research to be no greater than those encountered by the subject in those aspects of his or her everyday life that relate to the research, then the research can be regarded as within the range of minimal risk. Minimal risk research:

  • Draws participants from the general adult population, who are capable of giving free and informed consent, and may not include vulnerable subjects such as children and persons who are who not legally competent to consent
  • Does not involve any personal, sensitive or incriminating topics or questions which could place participants at risk
  • Does not manipulate behaviour of participants beyond the range of “normal” classroom activity or daily life
  • Does not involve physically invasive contact with the research participants
  • Does not involve deception
  • Does not involve undue or excessive offers of benefit, e.g., an offer of payment in relation to research participation that would exceed the normal range of benefits open to the research participant

Do I need to get approval from the school or department in which I want to do research before I apply for Georgian College Research Ethics Board Approval?

Yes. Because Georgian College receives many requests to involve our students and employees in research, it is important to determine if there is capacity for another study. Also, you will want to be sure that any resources you are counting on will actually be available to you. Please obtain permission from the dean, associate dean or manager of the department(s) you wish to study before applying for GCREB approval. This is referred to as requesting “administrative approval”. Note: A form and process to expedite administrative approval is currently being piloted. Please contact the Georgian College Research Ethics Board for more information.

Can I begin my project before I receive Georgian College Research Ethics Board approval?

Research on subjects must not commence until ethics approval has been received.

I am a professor who teaches a course that involves research of minimal risk. What are the processes involved in course-based approval?

See also: Course-based Research Ethics Approval (Information for faculty)

To seek permission to oversee the conduct of students’ minimal risk research you must complete the Tri-Council Policy Statement 2 Course on Research Ethics tutorial (TCPS 2 CORE) including the additional PDF modules, and submit a Request for Ethical Approval of Course-based Student Research Projects with a copy of your course outline to the Georgian College Research Ethics Board for approval.

Approved course-based instructor requests expire after three years.

Students in courses at Georgian College for which an instructor has course-based approval submit their Applications for Research Ethics Approval to their instructor as part of their research projects. If a research project will involve more than minimal risk, the instructor submits the application to the Georgian College Research Ethics Board on behalf of the student.

Before recruitment or data collection begins, please submit a Summary of Course-based Research with copies of the students’ Applications for Research Ethics Approval to the Georgian College Research Ethics Board.

Within two weeks of completion of the research projects or final grade entry, please submit a fully completed Summary of Course-based Research: Final Report Summary with copies of the students’ Georgian College Research Ethics Board Final Report forms to the Georgian College Research Ethics Board.

I am a student taking a course at Georgian College that has a research project. What process do I follow?

If your research is for a course in which the instructor has approval from GCREB for course-based ethics review, submit your application and forms to your instructor. If your research is for a course in which the instructor does NOT have approval from GCREB for course-based ethics review, submit your application and forms directly to the Georgian College Research Ethics Board. If you are not sure whether your instructor has course-based ethics approval, contact the Georgian College Research Ethics Board.

I am a researcher who wants to do research at Georgian College. What process do I follow?

  • Complete the Tri-Council Policy Statement 2 Course on Research Ethics tutorial (TCPS 2 CORE)
  • Contact the dean or manager of the department where you wish to do research to ensure the request to do research can be accommodated. This is referred to as requesting “administrative approval”. Note: A form and process to expedite administrative approval is currently being piloted. Please contact the Georgian College Research Ethics Board for more information.
  • Submit your completed Application for Research Ethics Approval to the Georgian College Research Ethics Board for approval or, if you wish to conduct research at more than one college that accepts it, you may use the Ontario Community College Multi-site REB Application process and/or form. You must still apply to the research ethics boards at each of the colleges involved, but pre-review by the Multi-college Research Ethics Board (Expert REB Panel) may make your application eligible for delegated, rather than full, review at each college.
  • Submit additional application forms and forms for reports as required.
  • Submit a Georgian College Research Ethics Board Final Report form when your research is complete or before GCREB ethics approval expires, whichever occurs first.

What if I already have research ethics approval from another institution?

Provided the research ethics body at the other institution is recognized by the Interagency Advisory Panel on Research Ethics (PRE), which is made up of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, you may qualify for an expedited approval process. Please submit the Georgian College Application for Research Ethics Approval or, if applicable, the Ontario Community College Multi-site REB Application form, and attach your original application along with the signed letter of approval from the other research ethics board. Be sure to include the documents you plan to use at Georgian College.

What should I include in my informed consent form?

Chapter 3 of the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans – TCPS 2 (2018) sets out the ethical requirements for obtaining research participants’ “free, informed and ongoing consent”. For the most common data collection methods, e.g. questionnaires, interviews and focus groups, an informed consent form is used to obtain and document consent.

Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Research Ethics Board provides a helpful sample of what to include in an informed consent form for research. Their website includes an editable Microsoft Word document.

If your research will undergo review by the Georgian College Research Ethics Board (GCREB), you must include the following as part of the contact information in your informed consent form (preferred) or recruitment materials (as appropriate): “If you have questions about your rights as a research participant, you may contact the Georgian College Research Ethics Board at reb@georgiancollege.ca or 705.728.1968, ext. 5395.”

What should I ask myself before I submit my application?

  • Have I addressed all questions in the application?
  • Have I included references to back up my rationale and my choice of methodology and tools?
  • Have I thoroughly explained my methodology, step by step, including processes that will be used to ensure confidentiality?
  • Have I thoroughly explained the experience from the participants’ point of view, including the time commitment, risks and benefits, recruitment process, data collection, debriefing, sharing of results and any incentives that will be offered?
  • Have I addressed confidentiality and secure storage and disposal of data in my research proposal?
  • Have I included a copy of all recruiting, interview and debriefing scripts, consent forms, surveys and other supporting documents?
  • Have I included proof of completion of the TCPS online tutorial?
  • Have I signed the application form and initialed where required?
  • Have I included the contact information for the Georgian College Research Ethics Board on the recruitment materials and/or consent documents that I am submitting to GCREB for ethics approval?

What is the TCPS tutorial and why do I have to do it?

The Tri-Council Policy Statement 2 (TCPS 2) describes the policies of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Researchers are required to be familiar with the TCPS 2 before they apply for ethics approval. The Tri-Council Policy Statement 2 Course on Research Ethics tutorial (TCPS 2 CORE) provides the mechanism for researchers to become acquainted with the TCPS and to provide proof that they have done so.

IMPORTANT! See also: Required Tutorial on Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS 2 CORE) on this website

Where do I submit my application for research ethics approval?

Please submit an electronic copy of your application to the Georgian College Research Ethics Board.

When should I submit my application?

Please submit your complete application at least twelve working days prior to the next meeting of the Georgian College Research Ethics Board (see online Research Ethics Board Meeting Schedule). Please note that the GCREB will often request that a researcher make changes and resubmit their application for reconsideration, so a lead time of two months is recommended.

How long does it take to get a decision?

You can expect a response regarding your ethics review in about two to four weeks, depending on the level of review required. When GCREB responds, you may be asked to resubmit your application or portions of it with changes for additional review.

The best way to ensure a quick turnaround is to ensure your application is complete, contains sufficient information to demonstrate compliance with the TCPS 2 (2018) and is submitted at least twelve working days prior to the next GCREB meeting. Applications will not be accepted as complete, and ethics review will not commence, until proof of administrative approval has been submitted.

When does the Georgian College Research Ethics Board meet?

The GCREB has regularly scheduled monthly meetings each month except July and August. Please see the online schedule or contact the Georgian College Research Ethics Board at 705.728.1968, ext. 5395.

May the public attend Georgian College Research Ethics Board meetings?

No. Applications for research approval are confidential and cannot be shared outside the Georgian College Research Ethics Board without the investigator’s permission. Since approvals comprise most of the business that is conducted at GCREB meetings, they are therefore closed to the public. However, the GCREB may invite researchers to provide clarification before conducting their deliberations.

What if I don’t get approval?

You may be asked to address some questions or shortfalls in your application and resubmit it to the Georgian College Research Ethics Board for reconsideration.

You also have the right to appeal the decision of the Georgian College Research Ethics Board to our Research Ethics Appeal Board (REAB), the Niagara College Research Ethics Board. Such appeals may only be initiated by the research applicant. The research applicant will submit all required materials (the original proposal, the letter of rejection from the Georgian College Research Ethics Board (GCREB) and a letter requesting the review) in writing to the Chair of the REAB within the allotted time. The research applicant requesting the appeal must follow the procedures outlined in Georgian College’s procedures on Responsible Practice and Ethics Review in Research and Niagara College’s practice on Research Involving Human Subjects. The decision of the REAB is final.

What if my project changes?

Please submit a GCREB Change Request form if you wish to make any changes to your approved protocol.

Do I need to report back to the Georgian College Research Ethics Board about the results of my project?

Yes. On or before the date your ethics approval expires please submit a Georgian College Research Ethics Board Final Report form and a copy of your final research report to the Georgian College Research Ethics Board.

If you decide not to complete your research, submit a Georgian College Research Ethics Board Final Report form to the Georgian College Research Ethics Board.

If your research project will go on longer than one year, you must apply for renewal on or before the date your ethics approval expires.

Whom do I contact if I have questions about research ethics approval at Georgian College?

Please address any questions to Eleanor Gittens, PhD, Chair, Georgian College Research Ethics Board. Phone: 705.325.2740, ext. 3062.

You may also contact Mary Whittaker, Georgian College Research Ethics Board Administrative Assistant, at 705.728.1968, ext. 5395.

Course-based Research Ethics Approval (Information for faculty)

The following information may help you to decide if your course requires course-based research ethics approval from the Georgian College Research Ethics Board (GCREB). Research ethics boards (REBs) may delegate ethics review of minimal risk, course-based research to non-REB members such as faculty.

A. If you answer YES to any of these questions, you need to obtain course-based ethics approval and you are required to complete the application and the Tri-Council Policy Statement 2 Course on Research Ethics tutorial (TCPS 2 CORE).

  1. Are the assignment objectives connected to providing exposure to research methods?
  2. Do the assignments in your course require students to practise data collection methods (used in research) with people?
  3. Are these assignments structured to be low risk research activities? Note: the determination of low risk is from the perspective of the participant. Low risk research involves activities or data gathering that is similar to what the participant would experience in their day-to-day life and is unlikely to cause embarrassment, anxiety, be of a personal nature or about a topic that is generally considered private. Any research involving vulnerable populations or Indigenous peoples does not quality as low risk.

B. If you answer YES to any of these questions, you are not eligible for course-based ethics approval and you MUST submit an individual Application for Research Ethics Approval to the GCREB:

  1. Do your students collect data or engage in the research processes that contribute to your research?
  2. Will your students all be working on one common research project rather than individual or group projects?

C. The activities below do NOT require ethics approval:

  • Students talking with a patient or client to learn about their experiences and then using this information to write an essay that will be graded by the teacher.
  • Using publicly available information about a person or people to write an essay.
  • Students talking with patients or clients in order to provide a diagnosis, identification of appropriate interventions, or general advice.
  • Students talking with each other or their teacher to practice interviewing skills or therapeutic communication skills.
  • Skills development activities which are considered standard practice within a profession (e.g. observation, assessment, intervention, evaluation, auditing).
  • Practising research skills using de-identified data.

NOTE: For a full listing of exemptions, please see the TCPS 2 (2018) – Chapter 2: Scope and Approach.

Next steps:

If you are still unsure if you need a course-based research ethics approval, please contact Eleanor Gittens, PhD, Chair, Georgian College Research Ethics Board. Phone: 705.325.2740, ext. 3062.

If you want talk with someone about the process of applying for course-based ethics approval, please contact Mary Whittaker or call 705.728.1968, ext. 5395.

If you need course-based research ethics approval for your course be sure to click on “requires course-based research ethics approval” in Curriculum Information Management (CIM) and submit your Request for Approval of Course-based Student Research Projects with your course outline and certificate of TCPS 2 CORE completion before the submission deadline for the GCREB monthly meeting. Please see the Forms and Meeting Schedule sections of the GCREB website: www.georgiancollege.ca/researchethicsboard.

Forms

Application Forms

Forms for Reports

  • GCREB-Summary-of-Course-based-Research *NEW* (Excel workbook with forms for instructors who have course-based ethics approval. Submit first form with the application forms for each project well BEFORE research recruitment begins; and the Final Report Summary with the Final Report forms for each project AFTER research ends or within two weeks of submitting final grades.)
  • GCREB-Final-Report-Form-2019 *NEW* (Must be submitted as soon as the research is completed or before the expiry date, whichever comes first.)

Note: Forms will open in a new window where you can download them. File sizes vary from 30 to 6,000 KB.

Multi-College Research Ethics Board (Expert Panel) Process and Forms (For projects occurring at more than one or two Ontario colleges.)

Research Ethics Board Members

Georgian College Research Ethics Board Members

 

Eleanor Gittens, PhD (CHAIR)

Professor, School of Human Services and Community Safety, Georgian College

 

Richard Acton-Rinaldo, PhD

Professor, Liberal Arts/Research Analyst, Georgian College

 

Ruth Beatty, PhD

Faculty of Education, Lakehead University Orillia

 

Amanda Duncan, MA, BA (On secondment. Returns Oct. 21, 2019)

Institutional Research and Planning Analyst, Institutional Research, Georgian College

 

Shane Ellis, LLM, JD, BA

Coordinator, Paralegal/Professor, Automotive Business School of Canada and Business and Management, Georgian College

 

Sara Lankshear, PhD, RN

Professor, Health, Wellness & Sciences, Georgian College

 

Leslie Lunstroth, HBA

Interim Manager, Transcription, Records Management, and Privacy/

Privacy Officer, Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital

 

Victoria Shelep, HBA

Independent Contractor

 

Scott Staring, PhD

Professor, Liberal Arts, Georgian College

Research Integrity Policy

Purpose

This policy outlines the expectations for ethical conduct in all scholarship and research initiatives, principles of research integrity and describes procedures for misconduct.  Research is defined as an undertaking intended to extend knowledge through a disciplined inquiry or systematic investigation.

Scope

  • college-wide

Rationale

Research integrity is a commitment to intellectual honesty and personal responsibility for one’s actions. Researchers must follow research practices that characterize the responsible and ethical conduct of research. As an institution accountable to the public, we must foster an environment that promotes integrity in the conduct of research.  In order to maximize the quality and benefits of research, a positive research environment is required. For researchers, this implies duties of honest and thoughtful inquiry, rigorous analysis, commitment to the dissemination of research results, and adherence to the use of professional standards.

Intellectual Property Procedure

Purpose

This procedure is to outline Georgian College’s position on the creation and development of works of intellectual property (IP) within the College, the ownership of intellectual property within those works, and academic recognition and revenue sharing of proceeds from commercialized intellectual property created and developed within the College.

Scope

All students, faculty and employees, full time or part time and any external creators of intellectual property who develop material on behalf of the College and who are not covered by other agreements.

Rationale

Georgian College strives to encourage, promote and foster innovation, the sharing of ideas and the creation of knowledge in activities engaged in by its faculty, employees, students and external associates.

More about the Intellectual Property Procedure.

Conflict of Interest Procedure

Purpose

The potential for conflict of interest has always existed in college communities because of the diverse interactions of staff with external organizations.  However, the increasing complexity of society and the changing role of colleges in that society, the multiplicity of inter-college, college-industry and college-community relations have created a new awareness of the need for guidelines for conflict of interest.   More than ever before, College staff are being asked to engage in a diverse range of economic development activity, increasing the potential for conflict of interest.

This Procedure is meant to protect both the individual employee and the College.  Its fundamental tenet is that employees should, of their own volition, take the initiative in disclosing conflicts or potential conflict of interest situations.  The mere existence of a conflict or a potential conflict does not necessarily imply that the activity or relationship should cease.  Indeed, conflicts may cover a broad spectrum from those that are minor and easily controlled to those whose consequences could be very serious.  There are situations sufficiently complex that judgements may differ as to whether a conflict exists.

View the Conflict of Interest Policy.

Meeting Schedule of the Georgian College Research Ethics Board (GCREB)

The Georgian College Research Ethics Board meets monthly (except in July and August) to review applications for research ethics review.

Please submit applications for research ethics review at least twelve working days prior to the meeting to reb@georgiancollege.ca .

Please note that projects must have administrative approval before they can proceed to ethics review. For more information please contact Mary Whittaker at 705.728.1968, ext. 5395.

Upcoming meeting dates

Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019 (Application deadline: 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019)

Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019 (Application deadline: 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019)

Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019 (Application deadline: 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019)

Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019 (Application deadline: 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019)

Volunteer to be a Georgian College Research Ethics Board Community Member

The Georgian College Research Ethics Board (GCREB) seeks employees of Georgian College, and volunteer community members with no current affiliation to the college, to serve as GCREB members. Criteria for member selection:

  • respect for ethics and responsible practice in research
  • willingness to learn and follow college policies and guidelines
  • willingness to attend meetings and pursue learning opportunities
  • willingness to read learning materials related to ethics and responsible practice in research
  • ability to work with a team
  • ability to respond quickly to requests for review
  • demonstrated commitment to fostering ethical research practices
  • previous experience as a research participant

GCREB members are expected to be versed in the procedures and language of research policy and to read any relevant information provided to them by the Chair (including documents provided by the applicant in support of their proposal). All GCREB members must also complete, in a timely manner, the Tri-Council Policy Statement 2 Course on Research Ethics tutorial (TCPS 2 CORE), including and additional research ethics readings before participating in ethics reviews.

Additional details

  • meetings are scheduled monthly from late August/early September through June and are typically held on the Barrie or Orillia Campus
  • in between meetings members take turns conducting delegated review of applications
  • members are asked to assume a two-year term that may be renewable for a maximum of four consecutive years
  • to be considered for this volunteer position, please submit a resumé or CV – including any research experience – to reb@georgiancollege.ca