VIU Scholarship, Research, and Creative Activity

Course-based Student Research

An REB Protocol for Course-Based Student Research provides an efficient process for VIU faculty to receive REB approval for minimal risk student research involving human participants conducted as a requirement of course completion.

Once approved, an REB Protocol for Course-based Student Research documents the scope of projects, methods, and participant populations that student researchers may undertake with REB approval as part of a course under the supervision of the course instructor.

An advantage of an REB Protocol for Course-based Student Research is that it enables REB approval of student research activities within a course on an annual basis, rather than REB review of each student research project individually. Once approved by the REB, VIU course instructors may apply to renew an approved REB Protocol for Course-based Student Research on an annual basis.

The scope of projects approved within an REB Protocol for Course-Based Student Research is limited to ‘minimal risk’ research, “in which the probability and magnitude of possible harms implied by participation in the research are no greater than those encountered by participants in those aspects of their everyday life that relate to the research” (TCPS2 2018 Glossary).  

The following types of projects will not be approved within an REB Protocol for Course-Based Student Research Involving Human Participants. Student researchers and their supervisors are required to submit a project-specific REB application for any of the following types of projects:  

  • Faculty research, even if student researchers are involved; 
  • Projects completed as a requirement of a masters’ degree or an undergraduate honours project, thesis or equivalent; 
  • Projects completed as a requirement of a graduate project or thesis; 
  • Projects involving interaction with human participants that begin before or extend after course completion;
  • Projects engaging in subject matter outside the pedagogical scope of the course;
  • Projects involving persons affiliated with another institution that requires approval of its own ethical review process;
  • Projects involving Indigenous communities or organizations, or focusing on Indigenous people, language, cultural heritage, artifacts, or traditional knowledge; 
  • Projects involving collection of information that may disclose potentially illegal activities;
  • Projects involving invasive methods, sensitive subject matter, deception, or withholding of information from participants;
  • Projects involving persons or groups in vulnerable circumstances, including but not limited to individuals with diminished capacity to consent, incarcerated individuals or groups, or youth or children under the age of 17; and
  • Projects involving greater than minimal risk (defined above).  

Student research involving any of the above criteria are not eligible for approval through a REB Protocol for Course-Based Student Research. Research involving human participants meeting any of the above criterial must be submitted to the REB using the regular REB Application for Ethical Review Form.

For more information, please see REB Guidelines for Course-based Student Research.