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Our approach to Research Ethics and Integrity

What is research integrity?

The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research states that:

Responsible research is encouraged and guided by the research culture of the organisation. A strong research culture will demonstrate:

  • honesty and integrity;
  • respect for human research participants, animals and the environment;
  • good stewardship of public resources used to conduct research; and
  • appropriate acknowledgment of the role of others in research.

At ECU our application of the Code is reflected in the ECU Framework for the Responsible Conduct of Research. The Framework links to important policies and guidelines across the University which guide the development of a strong research culture.

What is research ethics?

Ethics is the philosophical study of moral principles and rules or codes of behaviour which define what is good for individuals and society.

Research ethics is the study, practice and monitoring of ethical conduct in research. Research ethics also provides a framework of broad ethical principles that can be applied to the responsible conduct of research and to the use of any outcomes resulting from research.

Why do we need to seek approval for human or animal research?

The central objectives of ECU’s research ethics arrangements are to nurture ethical conduct and facilitate quality research. This is achieved by resourcing the reflective practice of our research. Obtaining ethics approval for your work ensures your research complies with established guidelines and policies at the State and National level and protects participants (human and animal), the researcher, the University and the community in general. Any research being conducted at ECU is required to be tested in the Proportional Review Checklist to determine if it requires review. Activities which do not require review will be sent an exemption or out of scope notification.

For more information visit the Human Research Policy and Legislation and Animal Ethics Policy and Legislation web pages.

What is a constructive approach?

The primary objectives of research ethics review at ECU are to provide applicants with constructive/collegiate feedback and to facilitate the conduct of excellent ethical research. Research ethics review does also have the objectives of ensuring that the projects adhere to the National Statement, ECU policies and other relevant guidelines/regulations. This includes ensuring that there is due regard for the rights, welfare and dignity of participants.

ECU’s ethics reviewers strive to ensure that the feedback arising from the review of a proposed project is clear, constructive and facilitates the applicants being able to proceed with the project.

Because of the approach taken to research ethics review by ECU, there is a reciprocal obligation for applicants to approach their ethical responsibilities and the research ethics review process in a reflective way, with integrity, good will and in good faith.

More information about ECU’s constructive and reflective approach

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