Before you apply for research ethics approval, check whether your project requires Research Ethics Board (REB) review.
Only research projects should be submitted for ethical review. Quality assurance projects and program evaluations are not considered research and do not require review by an REB. Intention to publish the findings is not the litmus test for determining whether something is research or quality assurance.
The current Tri Council Policy Statement
(PDF) defines research as “an undertaking intended to extend knowledge through a disciplined inquiry or systematic investigation” and, states that quality assurance studies, performance reviews, or testing within normal educational requirements do not normally require review, unless they include an element of research and the findings will be published or presented at a conference. The Tri Council Policy Statement, article 2.5, further defines quality assurance studies as studies related directly to assessing the performance of an organization or its employees or students, within the mandate of the organization or according to the terms and conditions of employment or training.
Decision support tools
created by the Alberta Research Ethics Community Consensus Initiative (ARECCI) may be helpful in determining whether your project qualifies as Quality Improvement or Evaluation.
If there is any doubt as to whether your research requires review, we recommend that you consult with the REB first. Note that none of UBC’s affiliated REBs will review or acknowledge research that has already been conducted.