Centre collégial de développement de matériel didactique

Ethics Board Reviewer

As members of an Ethics Board, the Reviewers are expected to enforce the ethical standards of research in the Contestant Research Proposals and ensure fair and equitable procedures are followed in the Contest proceedings.

An online tutorial on research ethics helps the Reviewers to evaluate the Research Proposals and judge the Contest participants’ adherence to their Code of Conduct.

The Reviewers determine whether to endorse the short-listed proposals for a second reading and write a Final Report on the Contest.


Step 1 - APPLY

Step 2 - QUALIFY

  • Learn about the required procedures and policies for research at your college by consulting your college’s portal.
  • Read the Codes of Conduct for each of the Contest roles in the respective application forms.
  • Obtain the Certificate of Completion by taking the self-paced Tri-Council Policy Statement TCPS 2 Tutorial. The “Course on Research Ethics (CORE)” is a self-paced series of eight learning modules designed for members serving on Research Ethics Boards. It takes a couple of hours to complete and can be done in stages.
  • Download the most recent version of the TCPS for future reference.


When the Lead Research Director convenes the first meeting of Reviewers, you should:

  • Choose one Reviewer to act as the Chair. Usually someone volunteers. The Chair liaises between the Judges and the Lead Research Director, moderates and convenes meetings and collates the infraction report and Ethical Evaluation Forms from each Reviewer.
  • The Chair should exchange contact information with the Lead Research Director.
  • Create a working schedule and make sure it is given to all Reviewers and the Lead Research Director.


  • At the close of the Contest, the Reviewers deliver a brief Final Report on ethical conduct (fairness, impartiality and adherence to ethical rules) during the Contest proceedings. The names of individuals or particular incidents are not mentioned directly.
  • Refresh your memory on expected behaviour by reviewing the Codes of Conduct again. Record incidents of misconduct and share these with your fellow Reviewers and the Chair.
  • If a serious infraction arises that requires immediate attention, such as a conflict of interest (e.g., a Sponsor judging their own Contestant’s proposal), immediately contact all Reviewers, especially the Chair, and inform the Lead Research Director. Agree on remedial action, including disqualification if necessary.


  • Discuss ongoing Contest matters with your fellow Reviewers, the Lead Research Director and the Judges.
  • For reasons of confidentiality and fairness, the Contestants’ names will be concealed.
  • Stay informed of matters being discussed by fellow Reviewers.
  • If you have any questions regarding ethics, direct your inquiries to the Lead Research Director and be sure to copy your Chair and fellow Reviewers.


  • The Lead Research Director sends the short-listed Research Proposals to the Chair of the Review Board. The Chair arranges for distribution and reporting.
  • Since only a few proposals will be short-listed, the Reviewers are expected to evaluate each proposal.
  • The Reviewers are encouraged to use the Ethical Evaluation Form provided and send completed forms to the Chair in a timely fashion.
  • Based on the ratings, the Reviewers decide whether to promote the proposals to the next stage, the second reading by the Judges.
  • Once the Contest is completed, the Reviewers delete the proposals from their file systems.


  • At the close of the Contest, work together to prepare a one-page report on the ethical conduct of the Contest proceedings and submit it to the Lead Research Director.

Ethical Evaluation Form

The Reviewers should use this form, or a modified version of it, to evaluate the short-listed Research Proposals. Use a separate form for each evaluation. Items 6-16 apply only to Research Proposals involving direct contact with participants. Place a checkmark in the N/A boxes for these items for proposals that do not involve direct contact with participants.

Reviewer Name: ____________________________________

Code # ______________________ Short title of Proposal ________________________________________________________

1. Does the Contestant appear to have properly credited all sources referred to and provided a complete bibliography of sources?        
2. Are the information sources or intended data sources from reputable sources or has the Contestant at least stated the limitations of any less reputable sources?        
3. Does the research question warrant the time and trouble to pursue the research?        
4. Does the Contestant demonstrate a clear and thoughtful understanding of the ethical rules governing research?        
5. Would you feel comfortable giving the Contestant permission to gather data in this way?        
6. Does the data collection plan appear to involve dignified, fair and respectful treatment of individuals or groups?        
7. Would you characterize the proposed interaction with the research subjects as LOW RISK? 1        
8. Does the recruitment (sampling) plan provide enough detail to judge whether it is ethical?        
9. Does the proposal exclude participants who are legally (under 18) or otherwise unable to give valid consent (e.g., people with learning difficulties, receiving counselling or suicidal…) or in a dependent or subordinate relationship with the researcher?        
10. Does the recruitment (sampling) plan restrict the participants to people who can safely be studied by untrained, novice student researchers?        
11. Is adequate information provided in the consent/permission form concerning participant rights, such as the right to withdraw?        
12. Are adequate measures in place to obtain informed/voluntary consent?        
13. Will the participants be aware they are being studied?        
14. Are adequate measures in place to ensure confidentiality?        
15. Are the risks to the participants’ health, safety or professional integrity acceptable?        
16. Would you be willing to participate?        












“NO” responses warrant serious consideration. Consult the Tri-Council Policy Statement TCPS used in Step 1 of the Step-by-Step for further information. You may also want to confer with your fellow Reviewers.


After completing the 16-item checklist items, rate the proposal under review:

  • 1st rank – In my view, this proposal is fully aligned with all ethical standards. All ethical issues have been satisfactorily addressed.
  • 2nd rank – In my view, this proposal is partially aligned with ethical standards with only minor transgressions that can be addressed without significantly altering the original plan. This proposal will be acceptable once the following adjustments are made:
  • 3rd rank – In my view, this proposal is out of alignment with one or more ethical standards and cannot be modified without significantly changing the original plan. The ethical issues have not been satisfactorily addressed. The proposal should not be considered for a second reading by the Judges. 

Please forward these completed forms to the Judges’ Communications Officer and the Lead Research Director. Only the Judges’ Communications Officer and the Lead Research Director will have access to these forms.


Low risk is defined as involving minimal to no physical or emotional risk to either the Contestants or the research participants, risks that are no greater than those likely to be encountered in everyday life. A proposal that involves significant risk or involvement or direct knowledge of illegal activities should be rejected. Tests that determine IQ or emotional or mental well-being or those requiring the extraction of bodily substances or fluids, the use of drugs (including alcohol), the consumption of caffeinated drinks or special diets can pose significant physical or emotional risks and do not qualify as low risk.

Ethics Board Reviewer Application Form


  • Be a current or retired teacher/staff/administrator OR a current or recently graduated social science student at a CEGEP in Québec.
  • Submit a completed Application Form with all fields of information completed by the deadline:
    1. Contact information
    2. 100-word statement of intent
    3. Signed agreement to abide by the Code of Conduct
    4. Proof of having obtained the Ethics Certificate of Completion
  • Have some knowledge of social science disciplines and research methods, research ethics and institutional review boards.


  • The applicants must complete the Ethics Certificate of Completion Course on Research Ethics (CORE), an eight-module, self-paced TCPS 2 tutorial.
  • The applicants will be informed by the Lead Research Director whether they are accepted to the Board.
  • Service as a Reviewer is volunteer work, without financial compensation.
  • The applicants must be available to provide some hours of volunteer work, mostly at the end of the semester.
  • The meeting times and frequency will be determined by the Reviewers as a group.

Code of Conduct

Ethics Board Reviewers ensure that finalists’ Research Proposals are thoroughly vetted for compliance with ethical standards. Ethics Board Reviewers agree to:

  • Conduct their reviews in a way that upholds fairness, impartiality and objectivity.
  • Exercise independence in their deliberations and decision-making process.
  • Not override or supersede existing ethical rules.
  • Exercise extra caution in granting permission for novice student researchers to conduct very intrusive forms of research such as fieldwork or experiments.
  • Uphold the requirements outlined in the Contestants’ Code of Conduct

The Contestants agree to:

  1. Conduct their research in a way that honours accuracy and truth and formally recognizes the academic contributions of others. 
  2. Scientific fraud, forgery, fabrication of information and misconduct are not condoned at any level. This involves:
    1. Referring to sources from which they have extracted central ideas, theories, findings, specific arguments, definitions, conclusions, interpretations and scales of measurement, even when not using direct quotations.
    2. Avoiding fabrication of facts and figures, falsification by wrongful author attribution or exaggeration and plagiarism.
    3. Avoiding colloquial, emotional and non-academic expression.
    4. Consistently and correctly using a formatting style that is appropriate to the discipline(s) featured in the proposal.
  3. Obey the general rules regarding the ethical treatment of human subjects, which are embodied in the ethical rules governing researchers and members of your institution’s community.
  4. This mostly involves:
    1. Informed consent, which may include a consent form (attached as an appendix item for the Contest) or, when only verbal consent is viable, a consent script (embodied in the Method Plan).
    2. For subjects under 18 years of age, informed consent from a parent or legal guardian.Recognition of the subjects’ right:
      1. Not to be distressed, humiliated, dishonoured or harmed through their participation
      2. To withdraw from study at any point in time
    3. Requesting permission from the director, board of directors, manager, owner, or other person in charge for access to institutions.
    4. Permission form to request access to and terms of use for personal possessions such as photos, personal diaries or letters.
    5. Refraining from direct contact with children and physically, emotionally or socio-economically vulnerable individuals.

Protect themselves and others from physical, emotional, legal, social or professional harm. 

This mostly involves erring on the side of caution. It is best to exclude a technique if the related liability or potential for harm is unclear.


I, _________________________________ ,

  • Have read and understood the Code of Conduct for Reviewers, and agree to follow the Code to the best of my ability.
  • Confirm that I have completed the Ethics Certificate of Completion “Course on Research Ethics (CORE),” the eight-module, self-paced TCPS 2 Tutorial.

Signature: __________________________________

Date of signature: ______________________________


EBR Applicant’s Name:

College Name:


  •    Student
  •    Teacher
  •    Staff
  •    Administrator


If you are a teacher, are you sponsoring a Contest applicant? 

  •    Yes
  •     No

Email address:

Phone #:


Please also include a STATEMENT OF INTENT (100-word account of reason for applying).