Ethics approval is required for human research. If your project involves human research, you must apply for ethics approval, and must not begin your research activity until you have received approval.
What needs approval?
Human research is conducted with or about people, their data, and/or their tissue. The term ‘participants’ is used very broadly to include those who may not even know they are the subjects of research. If you are conducting human research you will require ethics approval, unless your project is subject to the exceptions listed in the following section. This diagram provides some examples of activities that count as human research.
Collection and use of:
What doesn't need approval?The following activities do not require human research ethics approval:
- research that doesn't involve humans, their data, or tissue
- research that meets the National Statement's conditions for exemption (s5.1.22), but you must apply for an exemption before commencing the research.
- activities that are not for a research purpose including some quality assurance and evaluation activities
- research using certain types of publicly available information
If you are unsure about any of these, please contact the Office of Research Ethics and Integrity for advice.
Guidance about human research ethics
If you are unsure about your obligations, or about any of the requirements, concepts, or terms, please review our guidance about human research ethics.
Frequently asked questions about approvals
Click on a question to reveal the answer.
|Can I start work before I receive ethics approval?|
|Do I need ethics approval to conduct a pilot study?|
|What if I already have ethics approval from another institution?|
|Can I contact organisations, individuals or communities before I receive ethics approval?|
|Can I test my survey or interview questions before getting ethics approval?|
|Do I need approval for human research that is part of coursework?|