Human ethics process

Step 1

Read the following sections of the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research, 2007 (updated 2018):

  • Section 1:  Values and principles of ethical conduct
  • Section 2: Themes in research ethics:  Risk and benefit, consent

Step 2

Consider the ethical considerations in the design, development, review and conduct of research:

All applicants:

  • Chapter 3.1:  Ethical considerations in the design, development, review and conduct of research

Also, consider if the following chapters may apply:

  • Chapter 3.2: Human biospecimens in laboratory based research
  • Chapter 3.3: Genomic research
  • Chapter 3.4: Animal-to-animal xenotransplantation

Step 3

Consider the ethical considerations specific to your targeted participants, particularly participants who may be in a dependent or unequal relationship with yourself, one of the research team members, or someone within the research protocol.

Section 4 of the National Statement provides specific guidance on working with women who are pregnant, children and young people, people highly dependent on medical care, with a cognitive impairment, intellectual disability or mental illness, involved in illegal activities or in another country. 

If you are conducting research with or about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities, also refer to:

Step 4

Identify responsible research conduct requirements that will affect your ethics application, including (but not limited to):

  • Management of Research Data (e.g. University’s requirements for collection, storage, use, and dissemination of Research data are planned for, through completion of a Data Management Plan.
  • Conflicts of Interest (Potential, perceived and actual) have been disclosed and managed appropriately.
  • Methods appropriate to the aims of the research have been adopted to ensure that conclusions will be justified by the results
  • Authorship arrangements have been clearly agreed and documented
  • Engagement with a rigorous peer review process has been undertaken in a fair, timely and confidential manner.

Application submission process

  • Follow the instructions in the Research Information Management System (RIMS) Human Research Ethics (HRE) module user guide to create a new online application e-Form.  (Note:  For student researchers, the HRE Application process is to be undertaken in consultation with your supervisory team.
  • Complete the first draft of your Information Sheets, Consent Forms, Preliminary Survey Information, etc., using the Guidelines for designing participant information sheets and consent forms, and USQ templates.
  • Collate and include data collection instruments, e.g. questionnaires, interview questions, focus group questions, observation checklists, etc.
  • Obtain peer review of your application and Information Sheets/Consent Forms and data collection instruments (in accordance with the USQ Statement on Peer Review).
  • Undertake any corrective changes from the peer review process.
  • Obtain written permission to recruit participants and/or collect/use existing data sets.
  • Submit completed ethics application and all required supporting documentation via the RIMS HRE Module process.  All applications require Head of Unit (i.e. Head of School, Centre Director, etc.) endorsement of requested resources for the project).

Note: submission of incomplete and/or poor quality applications will delay the review and approval process.