Research Ethics Board

The purpose of ACAD's Research Ethics Board is to ensure research involving human or animal subjects meets basic ethical standards, minimizes risk, and mitigates harm.

What does the REB do?

The REB provides a framework to allow researchers to consider the ethical dimensions of research involving human participants and animal subjects, and support for developing research within this framework. Beyond these parameters, it is not the function of the REB to make value judgments on any other aspects of proposals, or to serve as a censorship body. The REB's scope is limited to activiites defined as research which involve human or animal subjects.

What are ACAD's research standards?

Like other Canadian degree-granting art and design programs and institutions, ACAD's basic standards for research on human participants are guided by the principals set out by Canada’s Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans. These principals include:

  1. Respect for human dignity
  2. Respect for free and informed consent
  3. Respect for vulnerable persons
  4. Respect for Privacy and Confidentiality
  5. Balancing harms and benefits

The use of animal subjects at ACAD is subject to relevant laws, regulations and college policies. More broadly, on the ethical considerations involving the use of animals in creative practices and research, the REB is informed by the College Art Association’s guidelines, The Use of Animal Subjects in Art: Statement of Principles and Suggested Considerations.

How does the REB define research?

For research involving human subjects, the REB is guided by the following basic considerations to determine whether a particular project is research, and if so, whether it requires REB review and approval:

  • Research is defined as an undertaking intended to extend knowledge through a disciplined inquire or systematic investigation. 
  • Creative practice is a process through which an artist makes or interprets work of works of art.

Creative practice activities, in and of themselves, do not require REB review. However, research that employs creative practice to obtain responses from participants that will be analyzed to answer a research question is subject to REB review. While creative practices, in and of themselves, do not require REB review, they are governed by the applicable college procedures and regulations, and more generally, by the ethical standards practiced in the wider cultural community.

How do I know if my project requires REB review?

If your primary purpose of your activity is research and not creative practice, and if it involves the use of human participants or animal subjects, it requires REB review and approval before it can proceed.

The REB and the Research Advisory committee has developed a Self Assessment form to help determine whether a particular activity requires REB review and approval.