Research involving human subjects

Students conducting research involving human subjects must obtain UQ research ethics approval before commencing that aspect of the research. This covers any HDR project involving either structured or formal interviews, or collecting data that includes personal information (whether the data is collected directly from participants, or is mined from non-public archives or organisational records).

Background and preparatory work, such as contacting experts in a field, does not require ethical clearance.  Rather it just requires you to observe normal academic ethics such as getting consent to quote from other’s ideas.

Students and their advisers should consult the UQ Research Ethics website, for relevant policies and guidelines.

Risk assessment

Projects that are clearly not ‘low risk’ or which are assessed as not low risk, will require approval from a university-level Human Research Ethics Committee.

Note that the definition of ‘low risk’ is research whose only foreseeable risk is of discomfort.  This is set by the NHMRC in its ‘National Statement on the Conduct of Human Research’. Under these guidelines, if the research focuses on certain vulnerable groups (children, Indigenous persons) the research is automatically not low risk.