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Research Ethics at NAIT: Home

Research Ethics at NAIT


 Dr. Melissa Dobson, Co-chair

Jodi Lommer, Co-chair


Tri-Council Policy Statement on Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS2 2018)
The TCPS2 is the guiding document for ethical research in Canada.

Highlights of Changes: Summary of revision in TCPS2 (2018)

Library Research Help
Request a list of resources to answer a question or support a project.

Related Research Ethics Sites
A PDF list of related international ethics websites.

Who We Are & What We Do

The NAIT Research Ethics Board (REB) is a group of NAIT instructors and staff who review and approve research involving human participants. 

The NAIT REB works with researchers to identify and resolve ethical issues in their research, with the goal of protecting the interests of research participants, maximizing the benefits of the research, and minimizing harms. The REB can approve, propose modifications, reject, suspend or terminate research activity that involves human participants, and falls under the jurisdiction of NAIT.

Applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis throughout the year.

The REB Process

Step 1: The first step in the REB process is to complete the online Course on Research Ethics (CORE). This tutorial is designed to familiarize applicants with the Tri-Council Policy Statement (TCPS2) and consider the ethical implications of their research. The tutorial is interactive, should take about two hours to complete, and can be completed in sections. Once complete, applicants will receive a certificate to append to their applications.

Step 2: Refer to articles 2.1 and 2.2 of the TCPS2 to determine if your research requires review and approval by the REB.

Step 3: If a review is required, complete the REB Application. If your application is deemed minimal risk, a delegated review (by three members of the REB) will be undertaken. Please expect a three-week turnaround for reviewer comments. 

If the proposal is deemed to be above minimal risk or would benefit from other REB members advice, the proposal will undergo a full board review. You may be asked to attend a meeting, if necessary, external reviewers may be sought.

If you already have approval for the proposal from another institute, your application will undergo an expedited review process. The review will be completed by the REB chair or a lead reviewer.


For a visual representation of the REB application steps, please refer to this flowchart

NAIT REB Application

Before starting a research study, NAIT employees should apply to the REB, describing the purpose of their research, and the process they plan to follow. ​

Q. How long does the application process take? 

A. That depends... If it is a new application and you complete Form 1, it will be sent to a review team. If the review team deems your study to be minimal risk (as defined by the TCPS2, 2010), you can expect a reply within 4 weeks.  Along with the reply, you will receive suggestions for improvement, revisions, or, in rare cases, a recommendation for rejection. If the review team deems your study to be above minimal risk, or if the team requests it, your study will come before a whole board for review. Full-board reviews occur during regularly scheduled board meetings, and you may be asked to attend.   

If you have already received approval from another institution, you can expect a reply within one to two weeks. 

See process flowchart for more information on how applications are handled. 

Q. My students conduct research in the classroom. Do I need REB approval?  

A. See the Student Based Research PDF. There are instances of when and why you would need or not need approval. If you have further questions contact

Q. I have not figured out exactly what I want to research, nor do I have funding. Do I need to apply?

A. You will need ethics approval for all research that involves human participants that is:

  • conducted at NAIT
  • conducted by NAIT employees or students AND/OR
  • conducted on NAIT employees or students

We suggest that you take the time to think about your research, design the methodology and discuss with your applied research chair prior to submission. You can use the proposal to help guide your thinking. A complete application is much easier to assess than one that comes in installments. The NAIT REB will focus on the research from the participants’ perspectives; we may not be helpful in research design and methodology.

Q. I am an instructor and would like to conduct research on my students, are there any restrictions on how the study must be conducted? 

A. Since the researcher is in a position of power over the participants, NAIT REB discourages non-class related research using students as participants, except when there is sufficient justification given for testing one’s own students, in which case the research should follow the guidelines below;

  1. Someone other than the instructor of the class should do the testing (i.e. someone who is not in a position of power over the students)
  2. The instructor should not be present in the classroom at any time during the conduct of the study
  3. The instructor should not do the solicitation of student participation
  4. The instructor should be blind with respect to who participates and who does not participate. If necessary, participants could be identified after all marks have been allocated.
  5. Normal consent and debriefing should be followed.
  6. The other researcher should inform students in the class that
    1. the instructor/researcher will be blind with respect to student participation
    2. their participation is completely voluntary and will have no bearing on student marks in the course, and
    3. they are free to leave without penalty if they do not wish to participate. NAIT REB does not have purview over in-class testing of class-related topics.

Q. How long are certificates valid?

A. NAIT REB certificates are valid for one year from the issue date. If you require a renewal or extension please re-submit your approved application and request an extension. 

Q. I am really interested in learning more about Research ethics, where can I find out more?

A. You can find information in several locations. NAIT REB follows the TCPS2 guidelines, and the Alberta Freedom of Information And Privacy Act. The TCPS2 CORE tutorial (required for at least one member of each research application) will provide further training.

Q. I am interested in joining the research ethics board?

A. First, that is great! We encourage your interest. If you are an employee of NAIT and would like to join the NAIT REB please contact We will add your name to the list of volunteers and will select from the list twice a year. If you are an interested community member (i.e. not affiliated with NAIT) we would love to have you join as we currently have a vacancy. Please contact

Q. How do I report an adverse event?

A. Researchers are obligated to report to the Chair of the REB any occurrences of an adverse event associated with a project that has ethics certification. The requirement is in adherence with the TCPS2. The adverse event should be reported as soon as possible but not later than one business day following the event.

Q. I have an REB question – whom do I contact?

A. For all REB questions, please contact Melissa Dobson ( or