Research Ethics

Research Ethics
Lakeland College recognizes that there will be increasing instances where College employees and students will be engaged in research activities. To be in compliance with legislative and funding agency regulations, the College has established standards and procedures that will ensure the integrity and accountability of any research conducted at Lakeland College.

What is Research?

“Research” is any type of inquiry involving staff or students, whether they are acting as researchers or participants in the research process, whether the research is conducted in person or by some other means such as mail, telephone, or computer link, or when it involves the review of records not normally available to the public.

Why is research ethics compliance important?

Obtaining ethical clearance ensures that the research, the research subjects, and the resulting research data are handled with consistently high quality standards. Third party verification of research protocols helps ensure that research methods are robust and confirm that all areas of research subject vulnerability are addressed.

Red Deer College Human Research Ethics Forms

What research requires ethics approvals?
Research involving the following subjects or materials must comply with Lakeland College’s Procedures. This includes research involving:
  • Human subjects
  • Animal subjects
  • Biohazardous or radioactive material

Research activities that require environmental assessments or occur in the North are also required to comply with specialized permits.

 The Research Investigator is expected to comply with the principles of responsible conduct of research:
1. To conduct research as capably as their knowledge permits.
2. To fully protect the welfare, dignity, and rights of research participants.
3. To obtain ethical approval for all research done by or using College staff or students.

What is human research or minimal risk?
Human Research (Research Involving Humans) refers to any project that involves the collection of specimens, data, or information from persons through intervention or otherwise. Included are procedures that have a low degree of invasiveness such as, surveys, interviews, naturalistic observations, exercise or psychometric testing, examination of patient records, as well as more invasive procedures, such as blood sampling and administration of a substance. This also includes projects and procedures that may be defined as Minimal Risk.

Minimal Risk means that the risks of harm anticipated in the proposed research are not greater or more likely than those ordinarily encountered in life, including those encountered during the performance of routine physical or psychological examinations or tests.
Research Involving Human Subjects: Purpose and Guiding Principles
Lakeland College is committed to ensure that research activities involving human subjects meet all ethical standards and policies. A key purpose is to ensure that the rights of human subjects participating in research projects conducted in the name of the College are respected and that such research is conducted ethically. Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans describes the principles that must guide research involving human subjects. Specifically:

Respect for Human Dignity. This cardinal principle of research protects the multiple interests of the person from bodily to psychological to cultural integrity. This principle forms the basis of the ethical obligations in research involving human subjects.

Respect for Free and Informed Consent. Individuals are generally presumed to have the capacity and the right to make free and informed decisions. This principle translates in practice into the dialogue, process, rights, duties and requirements for free and informed consent by the research participant.

Respect for Vulnerable Persons. Vulnerable persons, including children and institutionalized persons, are entitled to special protection against exploitation, discrimination or abuse. Special procedures may be required to protect these persons.

Respect for Privacy and Confidentiality. This standard protects the access, control and dissemination of personal information and materials. This principle is fundamental to the principle of respect for human dignity.

Respect for Justice and Inclusiveness. Justice means fairness and equity. The ethics review process must have fair methods, standards and procedures. Justice also balances benefits and potential harms and protects vulnerable segments of the population.

Balancing Harms and Benefits. The analysis and balance of harms and benefits are critical to the ethics of research involving human subjects. Foreseeable harms should not outweigh anticipated benefits. The balance must respect human dignity and impose strict ethical obligations on the validity, design, and conduct of research.

Minimizing Harm. It is the duty of those conducting research involving human subjects to avoid, prevent, or minimize harm to others. Research participants must be fully aware of any potential for harm at any stage of the research.

Maximizing Benefit. This principle imposes a duty to benefit the participants, and to maximize benefit to society as a whole.
Human Research Ethics Fact Sheet for Faculty
Want to know more about the ethics for research involving human subjects? Download this factsheet to learn more about this subject and how it applies to projects in the classroom.
How do I get human research ethics approvals?
Lakeland College does not currently have its own Research Ethics Board (REB) to review human research ethics, therefore the College has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Red Deer College to access their REB.

Forms for research ethics submission can be accessed on RDC’s website.

Submit forms to Lakeland College’s Applied Research and Innovation team for review or preparation assistance prior to submitting to Red Deer College’s REB.

For more details on the process, download the Lakeland fact sheet on human research ethics.
Lakeland College’s Procedure - Research Ethics
How do I get animal research ethics approvals?
Research involving animal subjects is governed by College Procedure 4.58 “Care of Animals Under College Control”.

Research involving animals cannot proceed until the research protocol has been approved by the College’s Animal Care Committee. Research protocols will follow Canada Council on Animal Care (CCAC) guidelines.

For more information, contact

Marisa Moe
780 853 8526
Reference Documents & Downloads
  • Lakeland College’s Procedure - Research Ethics (in development)
  • Lakeland College Procedure 4.58 - Care of Animals Under College Control
  • Research Ethics Fact Sheet
  • Red Deer College Research Ethics Website
  • Red Deer College Research Ethics Guidebook

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