Undergraduate Research

Ethics Review for Undergraduate Research

UTM's multi-disciplinary Ethics Review Committee (ERC) reviews undergraduate course-based research projects and experiential learning activities which involve human participants. The ERC is responsible for reviewing undergraduate research protocols and for making decisions that are compliant with TCPS guidelines and local ethical standards.

Course Templates: Where course instructors are assigning a specific research project that involves the use of human subjects to undergraduate students, the instructor should use the course template protocol form to apply for approval on behalf of all the students.

Student-Initiated Projects: If students can choose their own research topics and/or methodologies, and if the student's selected research involves the use of human subjects, the student should complete and submit the student-initiated project protocol form.

  • Risk:Undergraduate research activities should be limited to those that pose a minimal risk to human subjects, meaning that the probability and magnitude of possible harms to the participants should be no greater than those encountered in everyday life. Risks to be considered include: physical (risk of bodily harm), emotional (risk of feeling uncomfortable, embarrassed, anxious or upset), and social (risk of loss of privacy, reputation, or status). Protocols submitted to the ERC that are deemed by the ERC to pose a greater than minimal risk to participants will be deferred to, and reviewed by, the ERO.
  • Supervision:  The course instructor/faculty supervisor must take responsibility for overseeing the research that is conducted, and the protocol that is prepared. If a student's reseach project is part of a faculty member's larger study, the ethics protocol prepared by the faculty member and approved through the ERO shall be deemed to include the student's research. It is expected that the supervisor's signature on the protocol submission form means that the supervisor has overseen the research design and creation of the protocol, and approves of the submission.
  • Responsibility:  The student is primarily responsible for her/his research, from design to execution, so should be appropriately knowledgeable of ethical requirements and all policies governing research. Students must receive ethics approval from the ERC before engaging in research that involves human participants, and must report any adverse events encountered during the course of the research.