Unit Level Research Ethics Committee

Unit Level Research Ethics Application Submission

Course-Based Ethics Review

The Dalhousie University Research Ethics Board allows for Unit-level Ethics Committees to review research projects conducted as part of undergraduate or graduate course work and assessed as minimal risk. Course-based research projects conducted by student members of the Faculty of Agriculture will be reviewed by a Course-Based Research Ethics Committee (CBREC) within the Faculty.

Projects Eligible for Review by the Course-Based Research Ethics Committee

For a project to be eligible for review by the CBREC, the proposed research must be 1) “course-based” and 2) judged as minimal risk. Course-based research is research that is conducted as part of course work with the primary purpose of familiarizing students with how to undertake research and/or with certain research methods. Fourth year projects conducted within the Faculty of Agriculture to meet the requirements of the B.Sc(Agr.), B.Tech, B.Ag programs fall within the parameters of course-based research.

All projects reviewed by the CBREC must be considered minimal risk. In general, minimal risk research means that by taking part in the research, participants will not be exposed to risks greater than they would be exposed to in their everyday life. Further, the research may not involve “vulnerable populations”.  A vulnerable population is one with characteristics or factors that compromise the ability of the individual to make a free and informed choice regarding participation. Research that exceeds minimal risk or involves vulnerable populations must be submitted to the Dalhousie University Research Ethics Board. The final decision as to whether a proposed study exceeds minimal risk will be made by the CBREC.

The following types of research are not considered course-based research and therefore not eligible for review by the Course-Based Research Ethics Committee:

1)    Undergraduate theses (4th year projects are not considered theses)
2)    Graduate theses
3)    Research that will be included as part of a faculty member’s research
4)    Studies that exceed minimal risk or utilize a vulnerable population

If you have any questions about whether your research requires ethics review or whether it should be submitted to the Unit-Level Committee or full Research Ethics Board, please contact the CBREC Chair, Steven Dukeshire at steven.dukeshire@dal.ca or 902-893-6593.

Submitting An Application

  1. Read the document (four pages) entitled Guidelines for Submission of Ethics Applications to the Faculty of Agriculture Course-Based Research Ethics Committee. The document outlines the complete procedure for submitting an application to the Faculty of Agriculture Course Based Ethics Review Committe.
  2. Download the submission form and guidelines for completing the form.
  3. Complete the submission form.
  4. It is encouraged that the student completes modules 1, 3, 4 and 5 of the online Tri-Council Policy Statement Course on Research Ethics (TCPS CORE). Click here
  5. Submit an electronic copy (WORD or WordPerfect, not PDF) to the CBREC Chair, Steven Dukeshire (steven.dukeshire@dal.ca).
    Please name your submission "REB_submission[yourname]"
  6. Respond to any requested changes by the CBREC and resubmit.

Please Note: The contact for ethics concerns that should be provided in your Consent Form or Information Letter is the Chair of the Unit-Level Ethics Committee. In this case, Dr. Steven Dukeshire, Research Ethics Committee, Faculty of Agriculture, Dalhousie University at (902) 893-6593 or email: steven.dukeshire@dal.ca

If You Are Conducting Survey Research

If you are conducting a survey, you may use an information letter rather than a consent form with the survey. The information in the letter should contain the same (relevant) elements of a consent form, but should be presented in a letter format with few or no headings. In these cases, completion of the survey indicates consent to participate.

If you are conducting an online survey, you are very strongly encouraged to use Opinio which is an online survey tool housed on Dalhousie University servers. If you use any other software, you will need to present evidence that private information will not be accessible by the United States government through the Patriot Act. The REB will consider the privacy statements of the survey company and the type of information you are collecting when deciding the appropriateness of a particular online survey company. Opinio is automatically accepted as a safe online survey tool by the Dalhousie University REB. It is available for free to any Dalhousie University faculty or student.

For more information and to register for an account on Opinio, visit the myDal site.

Other Documents that May Be Helpful

Tips to submitting a successful Ethics Submission

Dalhousie Research Ethics Board

Link to useful resources - including Consent Form Templates, Tips to Writing a Successful Application, Research Checklist, Role of the Supervisor, and more!

Sample ethics submission for a social science research study

Sample ethics submission for a biosensory research study

Sample ethics submission for an online study/survey using experimental design

Please Note: Submissions were developed using earlier versions of the submission forms, however, the required content is very similiar.