Professional Writing and Communication
In the typical frame of their coursework, undergraduate students in the Professional Writing and Communication Program at the University of Toronto Mississauga are exempt from the ethics review process. Professional writing students are considered to be in the category of professional practice, which is distinct from research and exempt from research ethics review.* For further information on exemptions, refer to the University of Toronto’s Principles to Determine Exemptions from Research Ethics Review.
Professional practice entails developing knowledge and experience, which are standard within a field or profession, and involves information-gathering procedures that are a part of the typical relationship between practitioners in that field and/or the people with whom they interact within that context. Writers collecting information for a story fall within the professional practice category, and Professional Writing students should follow the ethical guidelines and principles that have been established for writing professionals, i.e., students can find ethics guidelines on the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) website. Professional Writing course instructors should teach students relevant professional ethics when appropriate, and should ensure journalism assignments and student proposals meet CAJ guidelines.
*If teaching how to conduct research is part of a course’s curriculum in a professional practice program (e.g. a research methods class), and students are expected to conduct a research project that involves human participants, an ethics review is required as per the usual process. In this case, the instructor teaching the course will be responsible for initiating the ethics review process, either by submitting a course template ethics protocol application or by advising the student(s) to submit an ethics protocol application for review. Instructors who have questions about whether or not a Professional Writing course or a particular assignment requires ethical review should consult the Program Director and the Research Office.