FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

When is my application due?
What kind of requests for changes can I expect from reviewers?
When is the next meeting of the REB?
How do I submit an application?
Who approves undergraduate research applications?
What if your REB application involves any face-to-face interactions during Covid-19?
How do I know if I need REB approval?
What should I include in addition to the application itself?
Can I apply to the REB before my funding has been granted?
How long is the review process?

What happens after the REB meeting?
What do I need to know once approval has been granted?
What if I already have approval from another REB?

When am I required to submit an Anniversary Report?
What is considered a change in protocol?

What do I need to know if I am a researcher from another institution wanting to do research on the StFX campus? 

How long can I keep a file open?

 


 

When is my application due?

In order for an application to be considered at an upcoming meeting, it must be received by the REB via email no later than 12 (noon) on one of the designated monthly deadline dates (see Submission Deadlines).

What kind of change requests can I expect from reviewers?

The reviewers may ask you to change or clarify anything they find is unclear or ambiguous. The idea is that the perspective participant is clearly informed before agreeing to take part in your study. They may also ask you to change things that may put undue stress or inconvenience on your participants. 

Requests for changes are made at the discretion of the Board and can be different for every application. However, there are some changes that are requested more often than others. A list of "Commonly Requested Changes" can be found here.

When is the next meeting of the REB?

The dates of REB meetings are typically set at the beginning of the Fall and Winter terms and are dependent on the schedules of the current REB members. The REB does not hold monthly meetings during the summer (July and August).

The deadlines for submitting applications can be found under Submission Deadlines.

How do I submit an application?

Researchers interested in submitting an application for ethics approval must do so by using the STFX ROMEO Researcher Portal. Instructions:

1. After logging in to ROMEO, click Apply New (upper right).

2. Choose Research Ethics Board (REB) Application.

3. Follow instructions, complete all sections, upload file attachments. 

4. You may save and close and exit at any time, but to continue editing in a new session, go to Role: Principal Investigator, select Applications: Drafts, then Edit. Continue editing. 

5. Save, press submit. In the pop up box type “OK”. You will receive a confirmation of submission email message.

6. Be sure to always click on “log out” in the upper right corner, whenever you finish a ROMEO session.

 

 
Undergraduate applicants see below "Who approves undergraduate research applications?"

Who approves undergraduate research applications?

In accordance with Tri-Council policy, all honours students' projects involving research with human participants are to be approved by the University Research Ethics Board. All course-based and other undergraduate research involving human participants will continue to be reviewed by the departmental or program REB. Each department or program will normally establish an REB committee to provide timely review of such applications and decisions. The departmental REB will report its decisions to the University REB. 

Honours students must download this WORD STFX Research Ethics Board (REB) Application Form, complete and submit to the departmental or program ethics committee. Once that review is complete, the Chair of the departmental or program REB, on behalf of the student, forwards the application using the STFX ROMEO Researcher Portal. From here select the Research Ethics Board  Application (undergraduate honours).  The Chair can attach the application form and fill in the "honours information" tab.  In order to submit the application, the Chair will have to be entered as the PI.  When the REB receives the application they will update the PI to the student's name and the Chair will no longer have access to the file.  Once REB review is completed, the approved protocol and approval letter will be made accessible to both the student and supervisor in ROMEO. This two-part process is intended to recognize departmental expertise in subject areas and to meet the Tri-Council guidelines. The StFX REB does not wish to delay honours students' research, so every effort will be made to review these projects in an efficient manner. However, special attention will be paid to research projects involving high risk and/or particularly vulnerable groups of participants.

Protocol changes to honours student projects may be approved by departmental REBs, provided the research is deemed low risk. As well, departmental REBs can issue annual renewals of approved minimal risk research for honours student research (TCPS 2018).

What if your REB application involves any face-to-face interactions during Covid-19?

If your REB application involves any face-to-face (in person) participant interactions, you must first complete the template for “Plans to do Research and Fieldwork during Covid-19” located on this site  https://www.stfx.ca/research/research-policies-and-committees  . The Associate VP Research and Graduate Studies (AVPRGS) has established an internal process to consider and approve these requests. Letters or emails signifying internal approval (from the office of the AVPRGS) for all in-person research must accompany your REB application.

How do I know if I need REB approval?

If you are intending to do research involving human participants you will likely need REB approval. If your project involves a review of existing procedures or is being conducted for quality control purposes you may not need REB approval (TCPS 2 (2018) - Article 2.5). There are some other situations where REB approval is not required (TCPS2 (2018) - Article 2.2 - 2.4) but it is best to contact the REB if you are at all uncertain about requiring ethics approval.

Quality assurance studies, performance reviews or testing within normal education requirements are not subject to REB review. This includes course evaluations and routine institutional assessments. If, however, the person doing the assessment is intending to use it for research purposes then he or she should seek REB review. The opinion of the REB should be sought whenever there is any doubt about the applicability of this Policy to a particular research project.

What should I include in addition to the application itself?

When you submit an application you should include, as numbered appendices, all letters of correspondence, forms, flyers etc. that are pertinent to the application. For example, if you require approval from a school or hospital to conduct research on their property, you should include the letter you sent requesting permission as well as the letter you received in response. If you have been in contact with Mi'kmaw Watch you should include that correspondence. 

You are also required to include copies of Letters of Invitation (as many individual letters as are necessary for your project), Consent Forms, Assent Forms, copies of questionnaires or a list of the questions you intend to ask (to the best of your abilities). If you intend to use flyers to attract participants, a copy should be included as well.

Can I apply to the REB before my funding has been granted?

If you have applied for funding and are waiting for confirmation, you may simply indicate this on the form under the section regarding funding. If you are intending to apply for funding you can indicate this on the form as well. Once the decision on funding has been, you are required to submit a REB Protocol Change Request event form on the ROMEO Researcher Portal to provide the updated information.

Similarly, if you receive funding at any point after you have received REB approval, you are required to notify the REB, by also submitting a REB Protocol Change Request event form on the ROMEO Researcher Portal to provide the updated information. Further, if your source(s) of funding change(s) you are required to notify the REB, by also submitting a REB Protocol Change Request event form on the ROMEO Researcher Portal to provide the updated information. This is done to ensure that there is no conflict of interest (either real or perceived) between the funding agency and the research at hand.

How long is the review process?

You will typically hear from the REB within two weeks of the respective submission deadline date regarding any concerns or suggestions relating to your project. You are not to start research with participants without approval from the REB so be sure to take into account the review time and the time it will take for you to address the concerns of the REB.

What happens after the REB meeting?

After the meeting, the Principal Investigator (PI) will receive an email letter from the Chair outlining the concerns of the Board. Once the PI addresses these concerns, either with changes or clarifications to the material, approval can be granted. The PI will then receive an email letter of approval from the Chair.

What do I need to know once approval has been granted?

If an application has received funding, the REB Administrative Assistant will notify the RGO and the Finance Department when ethics approval has been granted and when approval has been extended for another year.

When am I required to submit an Anniversary Report?

Anniversary dates: If a project is not officially closed with the REB before the next anniversary date, the PI will receive a Notice of Approaching Anniversary. You will receive an email notice in advance of the Anniversary date, with instructions, prompting you to complete the REB Anniversary Report event form in the ROMEO Researcher Portal. If applicable, the project can be formally declared as completed at this time. This update will be required each year following approval until the project is reported to be completed. It is the responsibility of the PI to have these reports completed and submitted on time.

What is considered a change in protocol?

Protocol changes: The Principal Investigator (PI) is obligated to inform the REB as soon as possible with respect to protocol changes that affect the informed consent of participants (TCPS 2 (2018) - Article 3.3). PIs should consider the changes in the levels of risk and vulnerability of the participants and how the PI plans to address these changes.

Changes to the funding associated with your project also requires the submission of a protocol change. If you receive funding at any point after you have received REB approval, or if your source of funding changes, you are required to notify the REB by also submitting a REB Protocol Change Request event form on the ROMEO system. This is done to ensure that there is no conflict of interest (either real or perceived) between the funding agency and the research at hand. Instructions:

1. Log in to ROMEO

2. Under Role: Principal Investigator, select Applications: Post Review.

3. Search for / find your REB project.

4. Click on the Events box.

5. In the Events menu, select REB Protocol Change Request form.

6. Complete the form and submit. You will receive a confirmation of submission email message.

All protocol changes must be approved by the REB before they may be implemented.

*Please note if you have to change from in person to online or video formats in order to collect data, due to COVID, you should notify the REB. You do not need an official protocol change. The REB will then record the information on your file. There is no need for an official protocol change.*

What if I already have approval from another REB?

All researchers conducting research through STFX will require approval from its REB. If you have already received approval from another REB you may qualify for an expedited review (see the next question). All projects approved outside of STFX will be reviewed by the STFX REB before ethics approval will be granted. Please submit your application using the STFX ROMEO Researcher Portal. Instructions:

1. After logging in to ROMEO, click Apply New (upper right).

2. Choose Research Ethics Board (REB) Application (expedited, external).

3. Follow instructions, complete all sections, upload file attachments. 

4. You may save and close and exit at any time, but to continue editing in a new session, go to Role: Principal Investigator, select Applications: Drafts, then Edit. Continue editing. 

5. Save, press submit. In the pop up box type “OK”. You will receive a confirmation of submission email message.

6. Be sure to always click on “log out” in the upper right corner, whenever you finish a ROMEO session.

If you have questions about whether or not you require REB approval and/or if you should use the expedited process, please contact the REB Chair by email at reb@stfx.ca with sufficient background information and information so a best response can be provided.

NOTE: All STFX faculty researchers already have an account in the STFX ROMEO Researcher Portal, as do some STFX students and some external researchers. If you do not have an account in STFX ROMEO, use the “register” button to create an account. If you have an account and have forgotten your password, simply insert your email address and hit “reset password”. Contact romeo@stfx.ca if you need assistance.

What do I need to know if I am a researcher from another institution wanting to do research on the StFX campus?

All PIs from other institutions are asked to contact the StFX REB before conducting research on StFX campus (TCPS2 - Article 8.3(b)). You will require approval from the StFX REB before contacting research participants.

Please submit your application using the STFX ROMEO Researcher Portal. Instructions:

1. After logging in to ROMEO, click Apply New (upper right).

2. Choose Research Ethics Board (REB) Application (expedited, external).

3. Follow instructions, complete all sections, upload file attachments. 

4. You may save and close and exit at any time, but to continue editing in a new session, go to Role: Principal Investigator, select Applications: Drafts, then Edit. Continue editing. 

5. Save, press submit. In the pop up box type “OK”. You will receive a confirmation of submission email message.

6. Be sure to always click on “log out” in the upper right corner, whenever you finish a ROMEO session.

 

If you have questions about whether or not you require REB approval and/or if you should use the expedited process, please contact the REB Chair by email at reb@stfx.ca with sufficient background information and information so a best response can be provided.

NOTE: All STFX faculty researchers already have an account in the STFX ROMEO Researcher Portal, as do some STFX students and some external researchers. If you do not have an account in STFX ROMEO, use the “register” button to create an account. If you have an account and have forgotten your password, simply insert your email address and hit “reset password”. Contact romeo@stfx.ca if you need assistance.

You need to seek administrative approval from our Office of the Academic Vice President to be on campus and/or conduct research involving members of our campus community. A copy of your approval must be forwarded to the St.F.X. University Research Ethics Board office.

How long can I keep a file open?

All  research projects that involve human subjects shall be fully reviewed using a complete and up-to-date application after the fourth year of renewal (five years is the maximum length a file can be kept open and is contingent upon receiving succinct annual reports,  prior to the expiry date.