FAQ and Resources
Under the Resources tab you will find a list of resources and websites that provide additional information you may find helpful when considering research ethics.
Under the Organizations tab you will find direct links to many Canadian, American and international research ethics organizations and governing bodies.
Additional resources can be found on the Human Ethics (opens in new window) page, Animal Ethics (opens in new window) page and the Controlled Goods and Biohazardous Materials (opens in new window) page.
Applying for Approval
If you are a member of the Toronto Metropolitan University community (student, faculty member, staff person) who will conduct research involving people, or you are a researcher who wishes to recruit on Toronto Metropolitan University campus or through a Toronto Metropolitan University source, then you should first obtain approval from the university's Research Ethics Board.
Most research involving human participants will require ethics approval before recruitment may begin, but there are many types of research that do not require ethics approval. If you are unsure of whether your study requires Research Ethics Board review and approval, please contact one of the REB Administrators (opens in new window) to discuss the project.
In order to obtain ethics approval for your proposed research study you must complete and submit the online application form with all necessary documentation attached. When you submit the application you will receive a system-generated email noting that the protocol has been submitted. If you do not receive the auto-email confirming receipt of the protocol, then the protocol has not been submitted.
The ethics application form can be found online by accessing my.torontomu.ca (opens in new window) (name change in progress). Once you have logged into my.ryerson, click on the link to “Online Ethics Protocol Submission,” and then click on the link to “New Application.”
Please contact one of the REB Administrators (opens in new window) and they will arrange a university Matrix ID that will enable you to access the online ethics application system. You will need to provide your name, institutional affiliation and an email from your institution (not a Gmail or Hotmail address).
Typically, recruitment notices, consent forms and data collection forms that include surveys, questionnaires and interview guides must be submitted with the application form accessed through my.torontomu (opens in new window) . The online application form includes instructions on what documentation is required and includes active links to templates and guidelines for consent and recruitment documentation.
Absolutely. You can contact either of the Research Ethics Administrators or the Research Ethics Manager (opens in new window) . The website also lists times and locations for open office hours during which you may drop in without an appointment to discuss ethics issues regarding your protocol.
The timing for approval depends on a number of things, including completeness of the application, timing of the submission and volume of protocols under review.
Once a complete application form with all required documentation is received, the protocol will be distributed to members of the REB for review. A first response will be compiled and returned to the researcher in about four weeks. A first response may be approval or suggestions and requests for additional information. If additional information is requested, once you resubmit the protocol with the information, you will receive a response within one week.
Yes, but all changes you wish to make must be reviewed and approved prior to implementing the change. To submit a proposed amendment to the approved protocol, you will need to go into the ethics system (opens in new window) on the my.ryerson platform, click on the link to the protocol, and click on the link “Request to Reopen.” Then simply indicate that you wish to reopen the protocol and submit. The protocol will be reopened. Once reopened, you will have access to the protocol and be able to make changes and attach additional documentation.
Please note any proposed changes and the reason for the changes in the "Comments to Chair" text box. Attach all amended documents (revised recruitment material and consent forms) and resubmit the protocol. You will receive a notice of review and/or approval of the amendments within one week. Please do not implement any of your proposed changes until you receive approval of the amendments from the REB.
Ethics approval is valid for one year from the original date of approval.
Ethics approvals are extended only when an Annual Report is submitted indicating that the study is still ongoing. The Online Ethics Protocol Submission and Review System will send you a reminder three weeks before the expiry of your protocol approval. At that time you may submit an Annual Report noting that the study is still active if you wish to renew the protocol for another year, or you may submit a Final Report noting that the study is no longer active and you wish to close the protocol.
Harm is anything that has a negative effect on the welfare of participants. Risk is a function of the magnitude or seriousness of the harm and the probability that it will occur. The TCPS notes that minimal risk research is defined as “research in which the probability and magnitude of possible harms implied by participation in the research is no greater than those encountered by participants in those aspects of their everyday life that relate to the research.” A study that is minimal risk is a study in which the participant is no more likely to suffer harm than they would in their day-to-day activities.
Primary data is raw data collected by an investigator conducting research from an original source. Secondary data refers to data that was collected by someone other than the user. Common sources of secondary data for social sciences include censuses or government databases.
Participants are anonymous only if you do not know who has participated. Typically, participants are anonymous if they have completed an online survey or have submitted a paper survey to a locked drop box. You would then not be able to identify who has participated and could not identify their responses. If you have met your research participants or know who they may be then they are not anonymous. If you will be reporting their responses ‘anonymously,’ (that is, you will not attribute quotes to participants) or you may be referring to participants using pseudonyms, you should advise them that you will be maintaining confidentiality.
The TCPS tutorial (external link, opens in new window) can be found at the website for the Panel on Research Ethics.
Completion of the tutorial may take two to three hours. It can be done in sections and saved so that you do not have to complete all modules in one sitting.
If you have completed the TCPS tutorial previously, please note that you have completed the tutorial on the ethics protocol and attach a copy of your completion certificate. The REB coordinator will then be able to confirm certificate authenticity with the government agency.
Simply by completing the information box with your supervisor’s information, including the supervisor's email address and Matrix ID. They will have access to the protocol.