Honours Thesis Ethics Proposals - Procedure

The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences administers a Low Risk Human Research Ethics Committee that processes all Disciplinary Honours-level ethics applications on behalf of the University Office of Research Integrity.

What type of research needs ethics approval?

As a general principle, any research involving human subjects requires ethics approval, including projects involving the following kinds of methodologies (note: the list is not exhaustive):

  1. questionnaires;
  2. surveys or interviews (including oral history);
  3. telephone interviewing;
  4. recording by audio- or video-tape;
  5. observations of behaviour (including ethnographic fieldwork).

Note that a key part of the approval process involves ensuring that the University complies with its duty of care to students. Safety protocols must be prepared for all students conducting any research off-campus, whether in Australia or overseas.

If you have any doubts as to whether to proceed with an application for Ethics Approval, please contact .

The Application Process:

The procedure to have your Honours thesis ethic proposal considered by the Faculty Low Risk Ethics Committee is as follows:

  1. Fill out the standard ethics clearance form Forms and Templates. Make sure you use the correct form for Humanities and Sciences Research Involving Humans.
  2. Note that student projects that involve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and/or involve meeting individuals in their places of residence for interviews etc. are not covered by this scheme. These proposals must still go to the University Ethics Committee. See Human Ethics
  3. The Faculty Committee may still forward some difficult ethics submissions to the University Ethics Committee for consideration.
  4. Submit an original, signed application via internal mail (or arrange hand-delivery) addressed to:
    Dr Fiona Gill, c/o Department of Sociology, RC Mills Building A26
    Please allow up to five days for internal delivery.
  5. Email a pdf, including all appendices, to vanessa.holcombe@sydney.edu.au. The submissions must be typewritten or word-processed. Handwritten applications will not be accepted.
  6. Before you submit your application, you are required to have it authorised by the relevant Head of School. If the Head of School is your supervisor, the application must be signed off by the Pro-Dean. This can be arranged via the Faculty Office.