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Research Ethics Board (REB) Members’ Preparation for, and Perceived Knowledge of Research Ethics

Abstract

The Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS) was first developed to establish a standard of practice in research ethics by the three federal agencies responsible for funding institutional research in Canada: Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). In 2010, a second edition of the policy, known as the TCPS 2, was released with updated information and expanded coverage of research ethics issues. According to the TCPS 2, the Agencies’ mandate is “to promote research that is conducted according to the highest ethical standards,” and the TCPS 2 serves as a benchmark for this with respect for human dignity as its underlying value. Research institutions receiving Agency funding are to comply with this policy statement by forming Research Ethics Boards (REBs) to review all research involving human participants. The intention behind this review requirement is to provide a proportionate assessment of the benefit-to-risk ratio of the research, and in that process, to safeguard “respect for persons”, express a “concern for welfare”, and uphold “justice” (CIHR, SSHRC, NSERC 2010, p. 8). Research may not proceed until ethics approval is granted by an institution’s REB. The current study evaluates REB members’ perspectives on their knowledge of research ethics, and juxtaposes these perceptions with those of researchers. Specifically, we are interested in the extent to which REB members with less experience read the TCPS 2, and whether those with less experience have decreased confidence in their ethics knowledge.

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Correspondence to Rylan Egan.

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Conflict of Interest

The authors do not have any potential, perceived or real, conflicts of interest.

Grant Support

Ethics clearance for this research was granted by the General Research Ethics Board at Queen’s University.

Informed Consent

All participants were provided with information about the study, and were required to provide consent before proceeding to the survey questions.

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Egan, R., Stockley, D., Lam, C.Y. et al. Research Ethics Board (REB) Members’ Preparation for, and Perceived Knowledge of Research Ethics. J Acad Ethics 14, 191–197 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10805-016-9256-8

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10805-016-9256-8

Keywords

  • Research ethics
  • TCPS 2