Ethics Board Guidelines

The Tri-Council Policy Statement 2 (TCPS2) defines "research" as any "systematic investigation to establish facts, principles or generalizable knowledge." Following the TCPS, the following types of research require ethics review and approval from the University of Prince Edward Island's Research Ethics Board (REB) before the research is started: 

1. All research that involves living human participants, except as stipulated below in items 7 through 9, requires Ethics Review. This includes:

  • research by UPEI faculty members, both full-time and part-time;
  • thesis and directed studies research conducted by UPEI graduate and undergraduate students;
  • research conducted by UPEI students or staff that makes use of university resources or facilities, either on-site or off-site;
  • research that has already been approved but subsequently requires significant changes in the original protocol or in collecting, storing, analyzing, or reporting data; or research in which ethical issues have arisen;
  • research conducted by non-UPEI students, both undergraduate and graduate, wishing to access our student or staff population for data collection in proposals that have been approved at another university; and
  • research conducted at UPEI by non-UPEI researchers acting as principle investigators (e.g., faculty, staff, community groups).

2. Research involving human remains, cadavers, tissues, biological fluids, embryos, or fetuses should also be reviewed. 

3. Research that involves interviewing a human participant to secure identifiable personal information, whether by face-to-face, telephone, videotaping or other electronic encounters, or individualized questionnaires.

4. Research involving third-party interviews if the third party is approached directly for interviews or for access to private papers.

5. Research involving naturalistic observation of humans (except as stipulated in item 7).

6. Research that involves the secondary use of data that was originally collected from human participants for another purpose, except as stipulated below in. 

The research types mentioned above require ethics review regardless of whether the:

  • research is funded or not;
  • funding is internal or external;
  • participants are from inside or outside the university;
  • participants are paid or unpaid;
  • research is conducted inside or outside the university;
  • research is conducted inside or outside of Canada;
  • research is conducted by staff or students;
  • research is conducted in person or remotely (e.g., by mail, electronic mail, fax, or telephone);
  • information is collected directly from participants or from existing records not in the public domain;
  • research is to be published or not;
  • focus of the research is the participant or a broader issue;
  • research is observational, experimental, correlational, or descriptive;
  • project has been approved elsewhere or not;
  • research is a pilot study or a fully developed project;
  • research is to acquire basic facts or applied knowledge; and
  • research is primarily for teaching or training purposes or whether the primary purpose is acquiring knowledge.

Research NOT Requiring Ethics Review

The following types of research DO NOT require ethics approval:

7. Research involving naturalistic observation of participants in, for example, political rallies, demonstrations, or public meetings since it can be expected that the participants are seeking public visibility.

8. Research about a living individual involved in the public arena or about an artist based exclusively on publicly available information, documents, records, works, performances, or archival materials.

9. The secondary use of pooled data which cannot be traced to the original research participants 

If you have questions about whether these conditions apply to a particular project, contact Stephanie Palmer (