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The procedures at MADA for gaining ethics clearance for research projects involving humans or animals is the same as for other faculties at Monash. The human interaction element of research in this faculty, however, may not be as immediately obvious to new researchers as it would be for (e.g.) medical and psychological researchers. Understanding and responding to the ethical considerations of your research is vital to ensuring your project complies with regulatory requirements and meets the ethical standards required of Monash research.

The below is an extract from the Research Office website, reference:

All research ethics applications are processed for approval through the central University’s Monash Research Office (MRO). The Monash University Human Research Ethics Committee (MUHREC) (Composition List) reviews all research conducted by Monash University staff or students involving human participants and primarily considers issues that constitute integrity, respect for persons, beneficence, justice, consent, research merit and safety. The primary role of MUHREC is to protect the welfare and the rights of participants in research and the primary responsibility of each member is to decide, independently, whether, in his or her opinion, the conduct of each research proposal will so protect participants.

All staff and students must be aware of their responsibilities and comply with all policies and government requirements.

Research Involving Human Participants

Human research as defined in the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007) (updated December 2013) is "research conducted with or about people, or their data or tissue. Human participation in research is therefore to be understood broadly, to include the involvement of human beings through:

  • taking part in surveys, interviews or focus groups;
  • undergoing psychological, physiological or medical testing or treatment;
  • being observed by researchers;
  • researchers having access to their personal documents or other materials;
  • the collection and use of their body organs, tissues or fluids (eg skin, blood, urine, saliva, hair, bones, tumour and other biopsy specimens) or their exhaled breath;
  • access to their information (in individually identifiable, re-identifiable or non-identifiable form) as part of an existing published or unpublished source or database."

Ethics: MADA Context

When designing a programme of research it is vital that the ethical considerations of the study are addressed. Particular areas of research within the Faculty are inherently more susceptible to ethical concerns, as the fundamental human interactions involved in the research are critical to its success. Most obvious among these, for example, are the various research projects underway in the Faculty with a clear medical component. Less apparent though are the creative endeavours of the Faculty which may use human data, experiences and input to derive research outcomes.

Within MADA the conducting of research involving human participants or subjects may take many various forms, the majority of which will probably be considered low risk. Examples of research projects involving humans which may warrant an ethics clearance include:

  • Design, testing and production of human-use products (transport design, public health projects, investigations into housing alternatives where interview data is utilised, design of mobility aids, hearing aids, other medical aids which require human interaction to test and develop)
  • Design, development and commercialisation of materials for human use
  • Research which includes the production of creative works utilising human stories and documents (photographs, written, audio and visual material)
  • Research which uses human materials for the production of creative works (hair, bones, fluids)
  • Use of interview and survey data for the design and production of creative works and products

The Research Office provides a range of guidelines and information for researchers in relation to research data gathering, ethics, consent (including provision of consent form templates) and other legal issues associated with human research:

For the Monash University Ethical Research and Approvals Policy see:

If you are unsure which forms to complete in the course of your research, please see:

Practical Next Steps

Commence your research planning by talking with your supervisor about the potential ethics implications and responsibilities which may arise as part of your research. It is important to consider the subject matter of your research, the methodology(ies) utilised, intent and potential outcomes of your research in relation to ethical implications.

The Monash Research Office is available to assist candidates with queries relating to ethics applications and preparatory material.

Ethics Workflow

  • Step 1
  • Step 2
  • Step 3
  • Step 4
  • Step 5
  • Under Government regulations and International agreements, research involving humans and/or animals is strictly controlled.

    Find out your responsibilities – if in doubt ask (Supervisor, MRO etc):

  • Discuss Ethics and Application process with your Supervisor and/or Program Director including:

    • Research Project Plan and requirements, responsibilities of researcher and supervisor
    • Human and /or animal ethics components of research
    • Low Risk: ‘standard’ ethics application for research involving humans
    • Form 1: higher risk
    • Form P: Privacy form

    Note: On Monash forms “Chief Investigator” refers to your Supervisor

  • Download and complete the correct forms. For more information:

    To ensure your application is processed:

    • Read and fully understand your risk obligations:
    • Ensure submission meets timeline requirements for research activity
    • Sign all relevant sections
    • Ensure your supervisor has signed all relevant sections including chief investigator sections
    • Include all additional documentation (consent forms, questionnaires, explanatory statements etc)
    • Plan for contingencies and risk assessments as part of your research
  • Submit ethics form to MADA Graduate Research in hard copy and electronic form.

    MADA Graduate Research will facilitate sign off and forward to MUHREC.

  • Await advice from MUHREC.

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