1. Why and when does my research project need an REB review?

Generally, all research that involves humans or human biological material requires review and approval by an REB. If you are uncertain whether REB review is required you must obtain the written opinion of the Chair of the REB as to whether the research should be subjected to prior ethics review and approval.

The Chair of the REB will decide whether a given project:

  • Requires full REB review;
  • Is eligible for expedited review;
  • Is eligible for review at the Faculty or Departmental level;
  • Is exempt from REB review.

Research proposals, initiated through the Centre for Research and Innovation at Fanshawe College must receive ethics approval from the REB before research can begin or funding can be received.

2. Does student research have to be reviewed?

If you are a student doing research for one of your courses, please see your professor. Do not apply directly to the REB. Your academic department is responsible for ensuring that your research meets the College's ethical standards, and already may have the authority to approve projects, which meet the "minimal risk" criterion.

"Minimal risk" means that the risks of harm anticipated in the proposed research are not greater or more likely, considering probability and magnitude, than those ordinarily encountered in life that relate to the research, including those encountered during the performance of routine physical or psychological examinations or tests.

If you are a student doing research that is NOT part of your course work, or if your project involves more than minimal risk, then you must submit your research proposal directly to the REB.

If you are a student doing research as part of a faculty member's research program, it is the faculty member's responsibility to obtain REB approval for the project.

3. Can a project be exempt from REB review?

Yes. Some projects are exempt from REB review. They include:

  • Quality assurance studies, performance reviews or testing within normal academic requirements or according to the terms and conditions of employment or training are not subject to REB review.
  • Surveys to assess the performance of the college or its employees as part of its normal operations normally do not require REB approval. For example, a first year student survey, early-leaver survey, course evaluations, student evaluations, key productivity indicator studies, or other similar activities do not require REB approval. This includes research whose primary purpose is to:
    1. diagnose problems;
    2. identify appropriate solutions;
    3. provide advice for operation management;
    4. assess performance; or
    5. to collect data primarily designed to affect the operations of the College through affirming satisfaction with the status quo or leading to quality improvements.

Prior ethics review and approval from the REB will not normally be required when the research meets some of the criteria outlined below.

  • A limited type of research most often found within the humanities, fine arts, and in some historical research that typically includes:
    1. a public database where aggregated data that cannot be associated with any individual are obtained; and/or
    2. information already in the public domain (e.g., autobiographies, biographies or public archives).
    Nevertheless, it is the responsibility of the researcher to ascertain that any information used from these sources is presented in an accurate fashion.
  • Archival analysis of records by College departments normally engaged in the collection, maintenance, and analysis of such records does not require an REB review. Nevertheless, it is incumbent on such units to ensure that the anonymity of individuals and confidentiality of their records are maintained.
  • Naturalistic observation of participants in, for example, political rallies, demonstrations or public meetings, where it can be expected that participants are seeking public visibility.
  • Class research projects, which involve human subjects and are conducted by students on other members of the class as exercises to learn how to conduct research.
  • Evaluations of courses or training programs that are designed to provide feedback.
  • Preliminary, informal interviews or casual conversations that are carried out to help clarify the design of a research project.

Note: even in these cases, other college approvals may still be required before the work can begin. For example, surveys are also subject to Fanshawe College Policy C307, Surveys and Questionnaires.

4. How can I get expedited review of my project?

You may request either delegated or full review of your REB application. A delegated review is conducted by two REB members rather than the full REB. The REB Chair may decline a request for delegated review and require full review of the project.

Delegated review may be requested only if:

  • You are confident your research involves no more than minimal risk, and can explain your reasoning on your application;
  • You are affirming that conditions previously set by the REB as conditions of approval have been met;
  • You are renewing the ethical approval for an existing project which:
    1. Has already received approval by the Fanshawe College REB, and
    2. Has complied fully with any requirements, and
    3. Has an up-to-date file, and
    4. Has no significant changes to the ongoing research process.
5. What if I already have approval from another institution's REB?

Even if your project has already been reviewed and approved by a bona fide REB at another institution, you still must have the written approval of the Chair of Fanshawe's REB before you may commence the proposed research activities at Fanshawe College. Submit a Fanshawe College REB application requesting expedited review, and be sure to attach a copy of the other institution's REB approval.

6. An outside agency wants to conduct research at Fanshawe. Do they need an ethics review?


7. An outside agency wants to conduct research using Fanshawe students but have already been reviewed by another Research Ethics Board. Do they need to be reviewed by Fanshawe's REB?


8. I am doing research with human subjects but do not plan to publish my results, just use them in a graduate course I am taking. Do I need a review?

Yes, as long as you are using Fanshawe students, staff, or facilities in your study.

9. I am taking a graduate course and have to conduct research. I am not using Fanshawe students as subjects. Do I need to submit my research for review?

Yes, if your research involves human beings anywhere. If you are not using human beings, then likely no. Check with the REB Chair.

10. My students are conducting marketing research in the College cafeteria as part of their course of study. Do they have to submit their research for review?

Yes. The research must be reviewed; however, the academic department is responsible for ensuring that student research, that is part of a program of study, meets the College's ethical standards.

11. I am a student at Fanshawe and I am doing research with human subjects here but it is not part of any course that I am taking here. Do I need a review?

Yes. Since you are not doing research as part of your required learning, you will have to submit your research to the REB for review.

12. I am doing research on starting a new program. Do I need to submit this research for review?

No. Studies used to facilitate the normal management of the College do not need to be reviewed.

13. I am experimenting with a new type of online course. I want to do some research as to its effectiveness. Does this need to be reviewed?

Yes. Since the risk to students is minimal, it is likely to be an expedited review.

14. How do I submit my research proposal for review?

You must request a review. This can be done by completing the Application for Research Ethics Board (REB) Review found on this website under Forms and Guidelines. After you have completed all areas of the form, follow the submission instructions found at the bottom of page 9.

15. Where can I find other information on ethics, ethics review and College policies?