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Human Research Ethics

Why is human ethics clearance important?

Ethics approval is required if you are a University staff member or a postgraduate student and want to conduct research activities involving humans. These include, but are not restricted to:

  • Gathering information about human beings (and organisations) through interviewing, surveying, questionnaires, observation of human behaviour, audio/video taping, administering tests or stimuli.
  • Using archived data in which individuals are identifiable.
  • Study or research in illegal activities.

Individuals who fail to comply with ethics requirements and University policy may risk disciplinary action and exposure to civil or legal action.

When human research ethics clearance may not be required?

Some projects considered to be of negligible risk may not require human ethics review. For example, undergraduate student coursework projects and use of information available freely in the public domain do not require human ethics approval.

What are the different types of human ethics clearance applications?

Minimal Risk applications are the most common human ethics application type within the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning. Minimal Risk research projects are those that present low risk to participants and researchers. The ultimate decision as to whether an application is eligible for minimal risk review lies with the Faculty’s Human Ethics Advisory Group.

Standard Project application is used for projects that present more than low risk as defined by the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research. A Standard Project must be first reviewed by the HEAG before being submitted to the Human Ethics Sub Committee (HESC) for review and approval.

Melbourne School of Design Minor Thesis requires students to follow a unique process for their ethics application. Please follow the Ethics for MSD Minor Thesis Students tab at the top of this page.

Registration of approved application is used when a researcher attached to a project has previously received approval from another institution's human research ethics committee, the project will need to be registered with the University of Melbourne and provide annual reports regarding the conduct of the project.

Transfer application will transfer ethics approval obtained from a human research ethics committee at another institution. The University of Melbourne will then become responsible for the research. For example, this is applicable if a researcher has moved from another university and will be continuing existing research projects.

Why is annual reporting required?

The Human Research Ethics Committee requires that researchers submit an annual report on each of their projects at the end of the calendar year, or at the conclusion of a project if it continues for less than this time. The University is required to follow up on any annual reports which are out of the ordinary. Failure to submit an annual report will mean that ethics approval will lapse.

RESOURCES

National Statement

The National Statement for Human Research Ethics (PDF) should be used to guide your ethics application.

Template Plain Language Statement

Template Consent Form

Contact

Any queries regarding the application process can be directed to Ceira Barr abp-research@unimelb.edu.au

Ceira Barr – Human Ethics Officer – Architecture, Building and Planning

Dr David O'Brien – Chair of the Human Ethics Advisory Group – Architecture, Building and Planning

 

Ethics Application Process for Staff and Graduate Students Research Projects

1.Login to your Themis account and select RESEARCH-SELF SERVICE menu (Students will need to create an account through the ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT Page).
2.Select the Human Ethics Workbench and select CREATE Ethics Application.
3.Select relevant applicant status (SUPERVISED STUDENT APPLICATION or STAFF APPLICATION).
4.You will be required to answer a number of prliminary questions questions relating your research.
5.Download the application form and complete it offline refering to the Guidence Document when needed (With help from your supervisor if you are a student).
6.Once complete, upload your application form, along with any subsidiary documents such as Plain Language Statement, Consent Form or a copy of interview questions/surveys, to Themis and submit. You will receive an email notifying you of your lodged application.
7.Your entire applicaiton (with printable Summary Report downloaded from Themis) should be emailed to abp-research@unimelb.edu.au in pdf format before the deadline.

 

You can track the progress of your application on Themis at any time.

Amendments

If you need to make changes to your ethics approval you will need to lodge an Amendment Application on Themis. To do this select CREATE Ethics Amendment Application at step 2.

Further Information

Further Information about the human research ethics application process can be found at the website for the Office of Research Ethics and Integrity.

 

 

RESOURCES

Information for Applicants

The National Statement for Human Research Ethics (PDF) should be used to guide your ethics application.

Template Plain Language Statement

Template Consent Form

The Guidence Document provides clear and details instruction on completing the application form

Contact

Any queries regarding the application process can be directed to Ceira Barr abp-research@unimelb.edu.au

Ceira Barr – Executive Officer, Human Ethics Advisory Group – Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning

Dr David O'Brien – Chair, Human Ethics Advisory Group – Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning

Application Deadlines

2 February 2017
2 March 2017
6 April 2017
4 May 2017
1 June 2017
7 July 2017
29 July 2017
31 September 2017
5 October 2017
2 November 2017

 

Allow 4-6 weeks for approval of Minimal Risk applications

Ethics for MSD Minor Thesis Students

No research project involving human participants may be commenced by University of Melbourne students or academic staff without obtaining prior ethics clearance.

For students enrolled in the MSD Minor Thesis the process for applying for ethics clearance is outlined in the steps below.

1.Download the MSD Minor Thesis Ethics Application Pack.
2.Meet with your supervisor to discuss your application.
3.Fill out all sections on the cover sheet and attach completed forms.
4.Ensure your supervisor signs off on your application.
5.Combine all documents into one pdf and submit via email to abp-research@unimelb.edu.au.

 

Ensure you submit your ethics application at least 2 months prior to data collection. Applications considered to be of higher risk may be asked to submit a full ethics application.

RESOURCES

Application Forms

MSD Minor Thesis Ethics Application Pack (doc)

Annual Report

Annual Report (doc)

Information for Applicants

The National Statement for Human Research Ethics (PDF) should be used to guide your ethics application.

Contact

Any queries regarding the application process can be directed to Ceira Barr abp-research@unimelb.edu.au

Ceira Barr – Human Ethics Officer – Architecture, Building and Planning

Dr David O'Brien – Chair of the Human Ethics Advisory Group – Architecture, Building and Planning