Ethics Guidelines and Resources
WHICH PROJECTS NEED ETHICAL APPROVAL?
All staff and Masters student research projects involving the collection of any information from human participants DO require an application to the SIT Human Research Committee.
I AM COLLECTING DATA FROM A WEBSITE THAT IS PUBLICALLY ACCESSIBLE. DO I NEED ETHICAL APPROVAL?
Most likely you will not need to apply for ethical approval. There are some exceptions, such as if the reporting of the data is likely to result in participants being identified, or if the data is coming from restricted websites. If the researcher has had involvement in the setting up on an online forum, for example, then ethical approval WOULD be required. If you are in doubt, contact the Chair for clarification (email: email@example.com).
I AM COLLECTING DATA FROM A WEBSITE THAT I HAD TO REGISTER TO ACCESS. IS ETHICAL APPROVAL REQUIRED?
Yes, this is not considered in the public sphere.
I AM USING DATA PREVIOUSLY COLLECTED BY AN ORGANISATION THAT I WORK FOR. DO I NEED ETHICAL APPROVAL?
Yes you will need to apply for approval to use this data as it is not considered publically available, or ‘open access’.
I AM A STUDENT ON A BACHELOR DEGREE AT SIT, DO I NEED TO APPLY FOR ETHICAL APPROVAL FOR MY THIRD YEAR RESEARCH PROJECT?
Undergraduate student projects (for example, Bachelor of Contemporary Music, Bachelor of Sport and Exercise), as well as Postgraduate Diploma in Business Enterprise student projects are generally covered by a three year blanket approval and do not require separate applications to be made, UNLESS the project falls outside of what is covered by the blanket approval (for example, if the research participants are less than 16 years of age).
WHAT IS THE PROCESS?
These applications should be sent to the Chair, Dr Sally Bodkin-Allen (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) for review prior to being submitted to the secretary. Sally will check that all relevant documents are included and that the application is correctly filled out. She will then send it back to the staff member or supervisor who submitted it. If changes are suggested these need to be made prior to the application being sent to the secretary for inclusion on the agenda for the next meeting.
WHAT IS THE TIMEFRAME?
Applications to the Human Ethics Committee must be with the secretary Judy Fleck two weeks before the meeting date. (email: email@example.com). Applicants will be notifed as soon as possible about the outcome.
WHO COMPLETES AND SUBMITS AN APPLICATION?
Ethics applications are to be submitted by staff at SIT. For student projects that are not covered by the blanket approval, applications MUST be made by the supervisor of the student project (NOT the student). Masters student applications must also be made by the supervisor/s. For student projects the application should be completed by the student and staff member/s together, however, it is the staff member who submits the application to the secretary for inclusion on the agenda.
WHAT NEEDS TO BE INCLUDED IN MY APPLICATION?
There are a number of documents that need to be submitted with an ethics application:
- A completed ethics application here.
- Interview questions, if you are doing interviews.
- Focus group questions, if you are doing focus groups.
- A copy of your questionnaire, if you are using one. This needs to have a short informative summary at the start that covers your ethical obligations. There is an example of this here.
- An information sheet, if you are doing interviews or focus groups. There is an example of this here for a staff or Masters project, and here for a student project that is covered by blanket ethics approval (eg Bachelors or PGBD).
- A consent form if you are doing interviews or focus groups. There is an example of this here.
- A consent form for parental consent if your participants are minors. There is an example of this here.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
Once your application is considered by the committee you will be notified of the outcome. It may be approved without any changes being required. The outcome may be that changes need to be made and to go back to the chair for approval. Another outcome may be that the application needs further changes and that these are requested to go back to the entire committee for approval. Once you receive final approval you will receive a letter to that effect.