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Research Common @ Red Deer Polytechnic

Information on conducting original research and on the supports available for research at Red Deer Polytechnic.

Research Ethics During COVID-19

Researchers starting new research projects with human participants, including Course Based Student Research, will be required to submit a COVID-19 Research Plan. Details of a plan should appear in the Project Application form as well as in the COVID-19 New Research Plan form.

Please consult Considerations for Amendments to Research Impacted by COVID-19 for guidance on how to design the proposed research project to address the impact of COVID-19.  The Research Ethics Board and the Research Common can also be consulted. If the application does not reflect thorough consideration of the impact that COVID-19 will have on the proposed project, it will be returned for revision.

Completed Project Application forms and the COVID-19 New Research Plan form are to be submitted to ethics@rdpolytech.ca. Allow 2-3 weeks for review of your application. 

If you have any questions, or need assistance with the form or designing a COVID-19 Research Plan, please contact the REB at ethics@rdpolytech.ca. This email account will be monitored over the summer, however, same-day reply may not be possible. 

Research Ethics Board

Red Deer Polytechnic and the Red Deer Polytechnic Research Ethics Board (REB) are committed to ensuring research at the institution is conducted with the highest ethical standards. Together, they promote ethical conduct to ensure that the rights of human participants in research are respected and protected. The REB is dedicated to developing student and faculty competencies in research activities by ensuring research is conducted according to the Tri-Council Policy Statement 2 (2018) as well as Red Deer Polytechnic research policies and practices.

The REB was formed at the mandate of the President to:

  • Help protect participants and researchers involved in any type of research against any form of psychological or physical abuse
  • Educate researchers
  • Review and monitor research proposals and projects

The REB assists the individual researcher to identify and solve ethical problems, not by acting as a censor or by imposing limits on academic freedom.

For more information about ethical research involving human subjects, please see the Research Ethics website.

External Research at Red Deer Polytechnic

The Red Deer Polytechnic Research Ethics Board has the responsibility to review all research projects involving Red Deer Polytechnic students, staff, or faculty as participants, including projects conducted by external researchers that have received approval from another institution.

Even if a research project has been approved by another institution, the REB still needs to review the project to ensure compliance with Red Deer Polytechnic policies and standard procedures in order to:

  • Ensure the autonomy of individuals to decide whether they will participate or not
  • Consider how the research impacts on participants' physical, mental, and spiritual health
  • Ensure the privacy and confidentiality of participants and their information
  • Protect the welfare of participants and minimize risks associated with any given project

Researchers have the responsibility to familiarize themselves with the ethical review process at any institution from which they are recruiting participants. The Red Deer Polytechnic Research Involving Humans policy includes the requirement for external researchers to seek Red Deer Polytechnic REB Ethics Approval before recruiting any Red Deer Polytechnic community members.

Information about applying for ethics approval from the Red Deer Polytechnic Research Ethics Board is available on the Research Ethics Board website.

Data Security

One aspect of ethical research that requires particular attention is secure storage of data. If your data is in paper or some other physical format, the Research Ethics Board recommends that you keep it in a locked file cabinet in a locked office or other secure location. If your data is digital, the Research Ethics Board recommends that you store it on a password-protected and/or encrypted drive or USB stick.

Following are some resources to get you started if you've never password-protected a USB stick:

Document Reading Level

As part of the General Principle that Consent Shall be Informed, the Tri-Council Policy Statement 2 (2018) requires in article 3.2 that prospective participants in a research project be provided with "all information necessary for making an informed decision" about participation. That information includes a "plain language" description of the research purpose and all risks and benefits of participation.  "The key to informed consent is that prospective participants understand the information being conveyed to them by researchers."

Depending on the potential participant group, the reading level for any documents connected to the project may need to be altered in order to make sure that the information is understandable.  Here are a few resources to help you assess and alter the reading level of your writing: