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Human Ethics

Research involving human participants must be reviewed by an Ethics Board before it can commence. The job of the Ethics Board is to evaluate potential risks from the perspective of the participants.

The McMaster Research Ethics Board (MREB), through the Office of Research Services (ORS), reviews proposed research from faculty members and graduate students. An undergraduate project that forms part of the research program of a faculty member is covered by the University-level review. The Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour Student Research Ethics Committee (PSREC) reviews all other research proposals conducted by undergraduate students as part of courses offered by the department (including theses and independent study courses). The Departmental Committee is governed by Terms of Reference (approved by the MREB on September 14, 1999) and by the Tri-Council Polocy Statement (TCPS, 1998, updated May 2002, September 2002, October 2005, and September 2010) entitled Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans

The TCPS defines research as “a systematic investigation to establish facts, principles or generalizable knowledge”. This includes not only experimental protocols, but also research involving naturalistic observation, questionnaires, interviews, or secondary use of data that are not in the public domain. It also covers research conducted as a class project.

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