18 Getting Approval

If your research requires ethics approval, you will need to apply to your institutions’ ethics review board. At UBC, we have the “Behavioural Research Ethics Board” which reviews and officiates ethics applications. We use UBC’s process as a guideline in this chapter, but if you are a non-UBC student, the information might still be useful. Nonetheless, you must seek out the specific process and procedures that apply at your institution of enrolment.

At UBC, prior to completing an ethics application, you need to set up a RISe account. RISe will serve as the interface for submitting all your documents securely. After that, you can begin filling out the necessary documents for the application. This link (set up a RISe account), which will take you to the “Behavioural Research Ethics Board” or BREB, contains the pdf’s needed to begin. In the foregoing, I will outline what each step requires. The following link will take you to the BREB page with all the information you need to know about filling out a UBC application.

Getting Started with RISE

  • Create a RiSE account following the directions linked here
    Determine and state your principal investigator at the beginning of the application
  • Send them an email notifying them that you have begun your application and that you will need their approval

Study Dates and Funding Information

  • Figure out and state the funding of your study and the dates of beginning and ending data collection
  • Figure out and state the REB board that your study most closely approximates

Summary of Study and Recruitment

  • Summarize your study in 100 words for the lay audience
  • State your recruitment process and inclusion criteria

Participant Information and Consent

  • Discuss your participants:
    • What risks may your study impose on them?
    • What are the benefits of the study for them?
    • What are the potential risks and benefits to the community they occupy?
    • How are you ensuring that their consent is informed?
    • Ensure your study meets informed consent criteria and sends in documentation of your consent forms
    • Will your participants be given adequate time to understand the tasks of your research?
    • What information are you sharing with them about your study? Are there any restrictions on what you will disclose? Why is that?
    • Do your participants have the capacity to consent to your study?
    • Does your study need consent to be renewed?

Number of Participants

  • Do you need external approval from other institutions or nations? (Required for research on different institutions with their own REB). If so, see this page. If not, proceed.
  • List and determine how many participants will be in your study. This section can be completed once you have finished recruiting participants.
  • This section must also list your own qualifications as a researcher, including:
    • The research you have done before
    • The research program (Honours, for instance) that is supporting you
    • Your relation to the proposed research project
    • The qualifications of the principal investigator
    • Whether you have completed the TCPS 2 Tutorial, linked here

Privacy, Confidentiality and Security of the Data

  • Have you assured the confidentiality of your participants by protecting your data against unauthorized access, use, disclosure, modification?
  • What encryption and password protection have you placed on your data files? (OneDrive, for instance, is an encrypted cloud service that will protect your data adequately).
  • What is the range of privacy protection that your participants will have?
  • Will directly identifiable information be shared (i.e. their name, SIN, personal health number)?
  • Will indirectly identifiable information be shared (i.e. date of birth or place of residence)?
  • Will coded information be used? (Direct identifiers are replaced with a code, James = Spruce)
  • Will information be anonymized? (Identifiers stripped of any information that could be directed back to the participant).
  • Is the information anonymous in the first place? (There was never any identifying information in the data you sourced, i.e. anonymous interview transcripts that never talk about anything that could be attributed back to the speaker).
  • What will be the eventual fate of your records? (Will they be destroyed or kept? And how long into records will be removed?)
  • Original data should be kept in its original form for at least five years at a UBC facility before being destroyed, and may be kept for a longer period if they are stored securely
  • State the names of everyone who will have access to the raw data and how they will be made aware of their duties towards confidentiality
  • Will there be any future uses for your data? Discuss potential future research projects and indicate whether participants will receive new informed consent for these projects.
  • Participants should be informed if raw data is shared with other journals or future publications
  • In ethnographic studies, this is not necessary for field notes so long as the ethnographic researcher explains to the participant in the initial consent process that their research may be returned to in the future.
  • Ensure to offer to your participants an opportunity to give feedback on the results of your research (you can offer to send them a final copy of your research).


  • Attach the UBC logo to all documentation and ensure there is a version data on it
  • All of the following documentation is submitted (if relevant):
    • Research proposals
    • Grant applications
    • Participant Consent document
    • Assent Document
    • Advertisements for Participant Recruitment (often flyers)
    • Questionnaires, Tests, Interview Scripts
    • Cover Letter of Questionnaire (if that is used in lieu of a consent form)
    • Letters of Initial Contact (e-mails or letters for the recruitment of participants)
    • Agency Approval Forms (if your research needs external approval)
    • Deception form (if your research requires a temporary deception)


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Practicing and Presenting Social Research Copyright © 2022 by Oral Robinson and Alexander Wilson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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