20 Summary

Preparing ethics review applications is time consuming and is not an exciting part of the research process. To ensure that you get to the actual fun part (data collection), we encourage you to utilize the fine resources provided by your institution’s BREB. For example, UBC’s BREB provides a full walkthrough of their ethics process, full of plentiful information regarding the niche problems you may encounter in getting your research approved. Our account in this chapter was merely a simplification of this walkthrough to make it more specific to the undergraduate researcher. We began by defining whether research needed ethical approval, stating that all research that actively intervenes with “human participants” needs approval. The two main exceptions to this definition was research that relied on already public information and naturalistic observation. We then summarized all of the main steps of the ethics review process, attempting to clarify the key concerns for the undergraduate researcher. For concerns not raised by us in the ethics process, please see the comprehensive accounts provided by your BREB institution. The chapter finished with a set of testimonies by students whose ethics process was complicated. We hope that their frustrations may anticipate some of your own.

It is important, in all this checks and balances rigamarole, that this process does not let you lose sight of the spirit of this endeavor: needing to ask of your research the most vital question – is it doing the right thing? Use the ethics review process as an opportunity to consider the value of your research, whether it is able to achieve those values, and whether it is compromising other values in the process. Determining the ethics of your research means to again comprehensively consider the meaning of your research, the answer of which should remind you of the importance of all that you do, and make it easier for you to convince others of the relevance of your work.


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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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