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Queen's University

Who's on this committee?
The committee consists of three members; the Chair Dr. Stanka Fitneva, a faculty member appointed for three years, Dr. Tara MacDonald, a faculty member and Anja Cui, a graduate student appointed for one year. Dr. Kate Harkness, Dr. Monica Castelhano and Dr. Stanka Fitneva are members of the committee for coursework and undergraduate theses.  Ms. Marie Tooley is the administrator for the committee.

How long does clearance take?
Undergraduate applications and applications for coursework can be handled quickly within the department, provided they are of "low ethical concern and minimal risk. Other applications follow this procedure. Clearance can be granted fairly quickly if the application is of minimal risk and so eligible for expedited review, meaning that it is examined by the Chair of the GREB as soon as he or she is able to do so. Full review for projects of more than "low ethical concern and minimal risk" will take longer. These are reviewed at the monthly meetings of the GREB.

Can I contact the Chair of GREB directly?

Sure, but you might want to contact the Chair of the PSYC REB, first; at (Dr. Stanka Fitneva), who may be able to help. Given the high volume of applications in Psychology, the Chair of GREB would be swamped by direct enquiries.

Why have I heard of long delays with reviews?

Applications sent to the GREB have sometimes been incomplete in one or more ways and have had to be returned to the researcher who must revise the application and resubmit to GREB. One of the purposes of the Psyc REB is to anticipate the specific requirements of the GREB and predict the outcome of GREB decisions, assisting researchers to perfect their applications before they go to GREB. Consequently, if changes are needed now, they are more likely to be detected within a week of the application being submitted to the PSYC REB.

How careful do I have to be with the application?

Quite careful. A good rule of thumb is to view this from the perspective of the members of the General Research Ethics Board, who come from very different backgrounds but are working to ensure that work at Queen's conforms to the Tri-Council (CIHR/NSERC/SSHRC) Policy Statement on Ethical Conduct of Research Involving Humans. They cannot afford to give you the benefit of the doubt - you must be explicit. Please prepare a document that is easy to read and puts all the right information in the right place.

What about lab courses?

Any research with people conducted as part of a course, i.e., a lab course, needs to be cleared but the requirements can be met easily. The participants in the course need to know the general type of experiences they will have as subjects in these labs and they must sign a consent form which, among other things, assures them that they can withdraw from any situation they find uncomfortable or threatening. In the vast majority of cases, the PSYC REB can be shown prior examples of the type of labs used in a course and can clear a simple letter of information and consent form that would be administered on the first day of classes.

Can Students opt out of labs in lab courses?

At the moment, the GREB believes that every student should have the option of withdrawing from an experiment that he or she does not wish to take part in. That means that the student must be allowed to opt out of having data collected from him or her. He or she can still be stepped through the procedure, and participate in all other stages of the project other than providing data.

Do I have to get clearance every year?

You will receive a letter from GREB if your clearance is about to expire, and you can renew it with a simple form. Clearance is always given for a period of one year but any project that extends over a longer period - or a course that is offered each year - goes through an audit in the second year. This is to ensure that procedures have not changed so that clearance is still be valid.

Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000