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Standard application guidelines - sections A-J

If you're conducting research involving human participants, you need to fill out a standard research ethics application in UVic-RAIS

Each section on this page refers to a specific item/question on the application form. See the example form to follow along. 

These guidelines:

  • help you complete the human research ethics board (HREB) application for ethics approval for human prticipant research
  • ensure that UVic research studies follows procedures consistent with the current ethical standards.
  • are organized by sections found in the application form
  • include additional information to help you address a variety of ethics issues
  • are frequently updated, as the field of human research ethics is always evolving and the TCPS is always under review
  • suggest best practices in ethics
    • you may propose different approaches
    • you can also provide a rationale as to why your research requires a particular practice that differs from the guidelines

Email us or call 250-472-4545 if you’re conducting research that requires ethics clearance from at least one additional BC academic institution or BC health authority. Refer to the harmonized review guidelines for more information.

If you also require approval from another organization such as a school board or First Nation, please ensure that this is made explicit in your application in Section E or H.

A. Research team

Principal investigator

The principal investigator (PI) is a faculty member, adjunct professor or sessional instructor.

If you’re a student, your supervisor must start your research ethics application for you. You will not be able to access your application until your supervisor grants you access.

The system will designate your supervisor as the principal investigator and you as the principal applicant.

If the project has more than one PI, their names should be listed under section A.3 Research Team Members

Principal applicant

The principal applicant (PA) is an undergraduate student, graduate student or post-doctoral fellow who will be the lead researcher for this study. This may be for their thesis, dissertation, project, capstone project, honours thesis, etc.

If you’re a faculty member supervising a student, you must start the research ethics application. You will then be able to grant the student access (as PA) to the ethics application.

If the project has more than one PA, their names should be listed under section A.3 Research Team Members.

Research team members

Research team members include all individuals and organizations involved in conducting your research. This includes co-PIs, co-investigators, students, assistants — paid or unpaid — and community organizations.

The PI can grant access to view and/or edit the application to the research team members of their choosing. Once this access is granted, the research ethics application will appear on the login page of those team members and they will be able to access the RAIS application as the PI has indicated.

Having accurate information about all individuals involved in the project is essential. Human Research Ethics and Campus Security are sometimes contacted to verify the identities of individuals who present themselves as researchers and research employees. UVic is also sometimes contacted by the public regarding the legitimacy of a project.

To make any changes to the research team, please email the HRE or call 250-472-4321. This includes changing the PI. Include the name and role of the person(s) If you want to add or remove research team members from the project.

B. Project information

Studies must have unique titles. They cannot have the same title that you or another researcher used for a different study that has been submitted to the HREB.

At the earliest, the anticipated start date should be 6 weeks from the day of submission. It takes 4 to 6 weeks to complete an ethical review. The start date for your project should take this into account, as well as the time it will take to complete and submit this application form.

it is a violation of UVic policy to begin recruitment and data collection before receiving HREB ethics approval. If you plan to start your research as soon as it has received ethics approval, but don’t have a set date, enter "upon approval" in this section.

C. Project funding

Information on funding sources is used to permit the release of funds and to ensure proper reporting of research ethics approval to funding agencies. Make sure you include:

  • exact project title used in your funding application(s)
  • name of the account holder
  • institution holding the funds
  • funding status (pending, approved, etc.)

If the funding for this research project is not under your name, please include the name of the research team member who applied for/received the funding.

  • they will be known as the account holder
  • ensure you give funding access to this team member so the funding can be linked with the research ethics application

D. Multi-jurisdictional research

This information allows the HREB to understand the role of the UVic research team when the research occurs in multiple jurisdictions or involves team members from other jurisdictions.

BC ethics harmonization initiative

Harmonization is a single coordinated review with other institutions. It may apply to your research if you will be conducting research under the auspices of any institutions in the Research Ethics BC network. Read the guidelines for harmonized reviews for more information.

E. Other approvals & consultations

If you’re conducting research in an institutional or agency setting other than UVic, you may have to get approval from the other authorities before you proceed with your research. These settings may include school districts, health authorities and community groups.

On your application form, indicate if you will need approval and from whom. Attach any received approvals. Attach correspondence you’ve had with these authorities or draft letters seeking their approval.

If you haven’t received the approval(s) you need, confirm that you will forward them to the HREB once received to complete your file.

Note that research ethics approval may be granted before receipt of external approvals; however, be aware that research ethics approval is contingent upon UVic Biosafety approval.

F. Scholarly review

Some form of scholarly review is a requirement for research above the minimal risk threshold.

Normally, the HREB considers peer review from granting agencies and graduate supervisory committee review as sufficient proof of scholarly review. The HREB reserves the right to require additional review. 

G. Researcher qualifications

UVic sometimes receives calls questioning the ethical approval of the research project and the qualifications of the members of the research team. This usually happens if the study involves vulnerable or disadvantaged participants.

The researchers must have the skills, awareness and sensitivity needed to engage in an appropriate and respectful manner. When there are cultural differences between participants and data collectors, data collectors may need to have special knowledge, skills or training that allows them to respect these differences.

H. Indigenous peoples of Canada

Community engagement

Where the research is likely to affect the welfare of Indigenous communities, you must seek engagement with the relevant communities.

You have an obligation to learn about and respect the relevant customs and codes of research practice that apply in the particular communities affected by your research.

The nature and extent of community engagement should be determined jointly by you and the relevant community or collective. Take into account the characteristics and protocols of the community and the nature of the research.

Consult with communities as early as possible. Different communities have established ethics guidelines and/or research protocols for conducting research within their communities.

Note: research ethics approval is not required for community consultation, as long as no participants are recruited at this stage and no data collection takes place.

See Chapter 9 of the TCPS 2 for more information.

I. International research

If you’re conducting research in another country, you must abide by UVic policies and regulations and the requirements of the TCPS 2.

Where possible, you must also identify and satisfy the research ethics requirements of the country where you’ll be conducting research. Approval from an international research ethics board or governing body does not constitute sufficient authorization to conduct research. You must get research ethics approval from UVic.

For more information, see Chapter 8 of the TCPS 2.

Suppression of research by authoritarian regimes will not be supported and their approval will not necessarily be required. The research ethics review will also consider the safety of researchers and participants and the security of research materials.

See Chapter 9 of the TCPS 2 when undertaking research involving Indigenous peoples in other countries. It’s essential to seek local guidance in the application or adaptation of this policy to Indigenous peoples outside of Canada.

J. Description of research project

In plain, non-technical language:

  • state the research objectives and questions
  • describe the importance of the study and its potential contributions
  • provide any other background information or details that you deem relevant

Ensure there is enough background information and context to orient HREB reviewers as they review your application.

Need help?

Call the Human Research Office at 250-472-4545 or email us if you have any questions or concerns while completing your application.

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