Research Ethics

All research is expected to be ethical in the general sense of avoiding plagiarism or other forms of dishonesty. Research ethics, however, go further than this basic expectation.

In Australia, anyone undertaking research with human subjects is obliged to ensure that the ethical dimension of the research lies within acceptable bounds. While we may often think first of the ethics of medical or other scientific research, the same standards apply for studies in the Humanities, including Theology and Ministry. Even a project involving the filling out of a questionnaire, for instance, or interviews with people, must explicitly avoid any kind of harm to the individuals concerned, as well as being worthwhile in itself.

The research ethics standards for Australia are those issued by the NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council). These are reviewed and updated periodically, most recently in May 2015:  https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/book/national-statement-ethical-conduct-human-research.

SCD has long ensured that all SCD research involving human subjects is submitted to a careful approval process by its Research Ethics Committee, whose membership and processes are aligned with the NHMRC Statement. This Committee addresses relevant research projects of both SCD faculty and SCD students. The students concerned may well be research degree candidates, but they may also be postgraduate students undertaking a particular research essay or research project, and may even, on occasion, be undergraduates.

Students will be guided by their supervisors or teachers as to whether application to the Research Ethics Committee is necessary.

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