Demystifying ethical review


This paper aims to provide an overview of the process of ethical review and how it may apply to those outside of a "research organisation" who wish to conduct research, or evaluate their own programs, concerning family studies.

Conducting research that meets high ethical standards is a priority for most researchers. Ethical review processes have been established to safeguard both those who participate in research and the individuals and organisations who conduct human research from unethical conduct. While horror stories of unethical and cruel research exist, thankfully, they are rare.

The process of ethical review can seem mysterious and difficult at first. However, it is often not as difficult as imagined. As will be outlined in this paper, some research and evaluation projects can be approved with expedited reviews, and others, such as those that solely utilise previously collected data (e.g., pre- and post-program participant surveys) and so pose no risk of harm to participants often do not require formal ethical approval at all.

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