Human Participant Policy

The Faculty of Environmental Studies is governed by the York University Senate policy for the Ethics Review Process for Research Involving Human Participants. Students undertaking research that involves human participants are required to submit an application and receive approval prior to undertaking such research. This review applies to research conducted in graduate courses, individual directed studies, and/or MES major research work (paper, project, thesis, or portfolio). If a student’s MES III research work is unfunded and if it involves human participants, s/he must submit the proposal for human participants research review, along with consent forms and specific research protocols (e.g. interview questionnaires and list of interviewees), if applicable. Students are also required to complete the Tri-Council Policy Statement tutorial and to print the record of completion. This record must be attached to the ethics review package and research proposal. Typically, students bring a draft HPR application to their II-III exam, after which it is finalized and submitted for approval. Unfunded research is approved within FES, while funded research projects must be approved by the York Research Ethics Board.

FES also requires students to provide evidence of proper preparation for field study or risk assessment and mitigation. Risk in field study includes, but is not limited to, risks to physical health, emotional well-being and personal safety. Risk may arise because of the nature of the research itself; or from the climate, the political, social, economic and cultural environment in the field study location; from the race, gender, religious or cultural background of the researcher; or from the travel, living and working conditions required for the field study. FES may require the student: to agree to follow certain field study risk assessment, mitigation, and approval procedures; to abide by guidelines for behaviour in the field; to take specified training or undertake preliminary research; to undergo immunization; to obtain accident and health benefits insurance, as well as necessary or desirable travel documents; and to sign (with a witness) a waiver of liability.

Human participants research review and risk assessment applications must be submitted to the FES Graduate Dossier System for review by the FES Research Committee at least two months prior to the beginning of the research. Incomplete or missing documentation will delay processing. Forms and procedures related to human participants research review and risk assessment are available in the FES Graduate Dossier and are also available here.

Students writing a thesis must also complete the FGS research ethics requirements and forms by the Faculty of Graduate Studies’ deadlines.