Chapter 2: Admission to research master’s enrolment

2.12 Ethics approval

Any research project  conducted at Monash University involving human subjects, animals or biohazards  must be approved by the appropriate ethics committee, the Monash University  Human Research Ethics Committee (MUHREC), the Animal Ethics Committee (AEC) or  the Monash University Biosafety Committee. Students should note that research  involving questionnaires, interviews and surveys is subject to human ethics  clearance, even where these are deemed to be non-intrusive, non-personal, anonymous  or random. Information concerning ethics clearances can be obtained from the  appropriate ethics officer (see Chapter 11 for contact details).

Students and their  supervisors are reminded that the implications of incorporating culturally  sensitive material in the thesis should be carefully and thoroughly considered  as early as possible during enrolment and appropriate clearances sought from  the ethics committee. The Monash University Human Research Ethics Committee  (MUHREC) reminds applicants that:

  • the primary ethical principle for researchers must be the ‘welfare,  rights, beliefs, perceptions, customs and cultural heritage’, both of the  individual and community or collective;
  • in some instances, in addition to obtaining agreement from the  individuals involved in the research, the consent of the community as a whole  or particular members such as elders may also be required.

Examples of culturally  sensitive material may include:

  • research that draws on cultural material (stories, rituals, practices,  etc.) to which only certain members of the cultural group may have access, or  to which others may have access only under special circumstances determined by  the particular cultural group;
  • sacred/sacral music that may only be performed in the presence of a  privileged community group. Consequently, inclusion of recordings of such  songs, song cycles, music or other culturally sensitive material in the thesis  may not be permitted by the community or collective that owns the material.

If there is a late change  in the direction of the research or opportunities arise which could not have  been anticipated earlier in enrolment, additional or revised ethics  clearance may be required.