15:00 - 15:45
ARECCI 2.0 – a Vision for a Canadian Approach
ARECCI - A PRoject Ethics Community Consensus Initiative – was designed to provide screening guidance, risk identification and mitigation support for knowledge-generating projects that are not being reviewed by an REB. The ARECCI Guidelines and Screening tools continue to be hosted by Alberta Innovates and have been used by project teams and academic institutions across Canada and around the world for almost 20 years.
The number and complexity of projects has expanded beyond QI and Evaluation. The authors propose that it is now time to collaboratively re-tool the ARECCI processes and tools, building on our 2 decades of experience.
As part of this collaboration, the authors propose a process to address this on a national level, with close collaboration with those institutions and organizations wishing to update their individual processes. This is an opportunity for an innovative, collaborative approach to provide an easy to navigate pathway for more robust, standardized guidance for a wide range of knowledge-generating projects.
Authors: Debbie Mallett, Jacqueline Senych, Jennifer Palacios
Gender and Fieldwork in International Security: Risks to Researchers and Best Practices by Canadian Research Ethics Boards
It has been documented that women are underrepresented in the fields of international security, conflict studies, and political violence. Many barriers to the field of international security have been identified in the literature, yet little attention has been paid to the unique challenges facing women who conduct fieldwork in volatile and insecure regions. In particular, women are often at higher risk than their male counterparts in these conflict zones, and must take extra precautions when endeavouring to conduct such fieldwork. Ethics and safety remain a crucial and integral component of conducting international security fieldwork, yet research on the best practices for accounting for these gender specific risks from the perspective of ethics applications has largely been ignored.
This research therefore investigates the extent to which women account for these unique challenges in their research ethics submissions, and the manner in which Research Ethics Boards manage these risks. To this end, this poster presents an analysis of policy and approaches to managing gender-related risks across Research Ethics Boards of research intensive universities across Canada’s U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities, as well as data gained from interviews with individuals that conduct fieldwork in fragile contexts. The poster will also identify best practices and lessons learned towards creating a systematic and robust way of managing the unique safety and ethics challenges facing women conducting fieldwork in international security.
Author: Tanya Bandula-Irwin
A Case for In-Depth Pre-Review: Single Methodology Research and the Role of the REB Specialist
A common complaint of the Research Ethics Board (REB) ethics application review process is the length of time between initial submission and receipt of final approval. One of the factors that influences this timeline is the workload of REB reviewers and indeed, the REB itself. In 2015, the Health Research Ethics Board – Health Panel (REB 3) at the University of Alberta initiated a revised triage and review process. Originally, REB review process started with the REB Specialist who is a full time staff member of the Research Ethics office. The Specialist provided an administrative pre-review of the application, focusing on its completeness and attending to editorial issues before sending the application on to a delegated review. To address the needs of REB 3, that manages over 1,895 active files per year, a simplification of the delegated review process was implemented. A process that originally included the REB Specialist, a REB voting member, and the REB Chair (3 separate reviews) for all applications, was moved to a streamlined process involving only the REB Specialist and Chair (2 separate reviews) for applications involving research of minimal risk and a single methodology (i.e., chart reviews, surveys, or questionnaires). In 2019, the Research Ethics Office measured the scope and impact of this revised review process. Of the 619 new submissions received in 2019, 395 (64%) met the definition of ``minimal risk, single method``. Of those, 273 (44%) were chart reviews. This streamlined review process has resulted in an improvement in turnaround times for approval, from an average of 30 days to an average of 17.5 days. We also found that the streamlined approach enhanced the pre-review process to include a more comprehensive assessment of both administrative and ethical concerns. Recently (Fall, 2019), the Research Ethics Office surveyed the membership of its 4 REBs with a focus on their satisfaction with reviewer workload and impressions of the nature and quality of the pre-reviews conducted by the REB Specialist using the streamlined review process. Of those members from the REB 3 who responded to the survey, a majority reported high satisfaction with the review contributions of the REB Specialist. Moreover, these REB members were satisfied with the manageability of their workloads. Based on the data and survey responses, which will be presented in further detail in the poster, it is clear that the role of the REB Specialist in the review process enhances the efficiency and management of a large number of ethics applications. Our data suggest that implementing this streamlining process in the other two REBs that handle non-invasive research, should yield similar results. Our new review process may also help in the recruitment and retention of REB members, who often cite the perception of a heavy workload as a barrier to service.
Authors: Charmaine Kabatoff and Stanley Varnhagen, University of Alberta