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Ethics and Research Integrity
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How does snowball recruitment work?
Snowball recruitment is a useful recruitment technique, but researchers must be aware of privacy concerns. Disclosure of any personal information relating to a third party without prior consent breaches privacy provisions (see National Privacy Principles (Principle 1 – Collection) and the Queensland Privacy Act - Fact Sheet 29). The acceptable method of snowball recruitment is to request participants to pass on the details of the project (or pass on an information sheet for the study) to potential volunteers who may then contact the researcher direct if they are interested in the study. At no time should participants be asked for contact details of potential volunteers.
Do I have to submit the final version of my survey when I submit my ethics application?
Surveys or questionnaires may be submitted to the HREC in draft or if a draft is not available a representative sample of questions may be submitted. (When available, the final version of the survey/questionnaire must be forwarded to the Human Ethics Officer.)
How do I include psychology tests in my ethics application?
For standard published psychology questionnaires and test material, please include reference details in the application for these documents.
If I am using an on-line survey tool, how do I gather consent?
On-line surveys should include a “preamble” of consent before participants are allowed to begin the survey, i.e. an “I agree” icon. The preamble should adequately explain what is required of participants and time expected to be taken to complete the survey.
Are cold calling telephone interviews acceptable?
As telephone interviews can be intrusive, ethics applications should explain why this is the most appropriate method of interview in relation to the aims of the project. This protocol should only be used for low or negligible risk research. The target participants should receive an information sheet before any telephone contact is made by the researcher. A script of the telephone interview must be submitted with the application, i.e. introduction and verbal consent statement and draft or sample questions. Please note that telephone interviews cannot be taped unless consent is obtained.
Can I collect or deliver surveys to householders?
House to house surveying must be justified in relation to the aims of your project, as the most appropriate method of gathering data. The researcher must be accompanied by at least one other person, wear JCU identification and carry a mobile phone.
How do I get approval to recruit patients from a private GP practice?
JCU HREC can approve studies that involve patients/clients from private practices (non-health service district patients), such as General Practices, physiotherapy, speech clinics etc. You should also check with the practice if they have a requirement for you to obtain approval from other ethics bodies etc.
Can I pay my participants?
In accordance with the National Statement incentives are allowed, but the payment or incentive must not be disproportionate to the time involved, or … encourage participants to take risks (2.2.10). The HREC considers incentives on a case by case basis in relation to the aims and protocols of the study.
I don’t have my letter of support for my project as yet. Will the HREC still grant me approval?
External organisations – letters of support/approval from external organisations should be included in your ethics application when it is submitted to the HREC. If letters have not been received by time of submission, it should be clearly stated in the application that these letters will be forwarded to the Human Ethics Officer when received.
Approval access to JCU students: Head of School approval must be sought to access students in specific disciplines or courses. To access the general JCU student body, approval should be sought from the Registrar.
I need to use a translator in my study. What do I have to include in my ethics application?
If your project involves the use of a translator, i.e. information sheets and consent forms translated into another language, you must include a statement outlining the details and experience of the translator in your application.