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.