ACAP Research Ethics

The Australian College of Applied Psychology believes that all research should be conducted with honesty and integrity, and follow responsible and ethical research practices. All ACAP students, staff and research partners engaged in research with ACAP are expected to adhere to the standards of ethical conduct prescribed in the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2007), as well as the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007), each developed jointly by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), the Australian Research Council (ARC) and Universities Australia.

Additionally, researchers at ACAP engaged in research involving indigenous concerns or participants must adhere to the Values and Ethics: Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research (2003), developed by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Guidelines for Ethical Research in Indigenous Studies (2012), developed by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.

Research Involving Human Participants

All research undertaken by ACAP students and staff that involves human participants requires ethics approval from the Navitas Professional Institute Human Research Ethics Committee (NPI HREC) before the research is commenced. Through this ethics approval process research is assessed for quality, safety, privacy, risk management, financial management and ethical acceptability in accord with the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research.

This process of ethical review and approval reassures researchers that their research project complies with the Code and Standards and related statutory requirements, and has moral validation as well as institutional backing. It also provides researchers with an opportunity to enhance the rigour and quality of their project. Researchers of ACAP HREC approved human research projects are also required to submit an annual progress report to the ACAP HREC.

Further information can be found in ACAP’s Introductory Research Guide, as well as the ACAP Human Research Approval and Conduct Guide.

Navitas Professional Institute Human Research and Ethics Committee

Professor Carolyn Noble Chair
Professor Mike Innes Research Expert
Dr Katrina Andrews Research Expert
Ms Robyn Rudner Person with knowledge of professional care, counselling or treatment of people.
Associate Professor Frankie Merritt Aboriginal Leader/Pastoral Care
Ms Ann Gibson Lawyer
Associate Professor Sharon Moore Research expert
Dr Elizabeth Watson Research Expert
Ms Bicky Winkler Layperson (woman)
Dr Ben Morrison Research Expert

Important HREC Documents

NPI HREC Meeting Dates in 2016

Document deadline

Monday 11 January 2016


Thursday 21 January 2016

Document deadline

Monday 15 February 2016


Thursday 25 February 2016

Document deadline

Tuesday 15 March 2016


Thursday 31 March 2016

Document deadline

Tuesday 12 April 2016


Thursday 28 April 2016

Document deadline

Monday  9 May 2016


Thursday 26 May 2016

Document deadline

Tuesday 14 June 2016


Thursday 30 June 2016

Document deadline

Monday 11 July 2016


Thursday 28 July 2016

Document deadline

Monday 15 August 2016


Thursday 25 August 2016

Document deadline

Monday 12 September 2016


Thursday 22 September 2016

Document deadline

Monday 10 October 2016


Thursday 20 October 2016

Document deadline

Monday 14 November 2016


Thursday 24 November 2016

Document deadline

Monday 5 December 2016


Thursday 15 December 2016

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do I need to apply for ethics approval?

All research involving human participants conducted by staff and students of Navitas Professional Institute (ACAP, NCPS) must undergo ethical review by the HREC prior to commencement of the research. 

2. What do I need to submit with my ethics application?

On submitting your ethics application the following documents are required:

  • A completed National Ethics Application Form (NEAF);
  • A completed Human Research Application Cover Sheet, including signatures from the applicant, research supervisor and relevant Head of School;
  • A participant information sheet for each participant group (if applicable);
  • A consent form form for each participant group (if applicable, noting that research projects which involve online or anonymous paper based surveys do not require a consent form, but rather a statement at the beginning of the survey advising participants that clicking ‘submit’ on the survey implies consent). 
  • Copies of any questionnaires, interview schedules, research advertisements, or any other documents relevant to the research. 

3. How do I submit my ethics application?

Student ethics applications can be submitted to the HREC Secretary either yourself, through the research supervisor or through the relevant staff member in your School.  Ethics applications must have a completed Human Research Ethics Application Cover Sheet signed by the applicant, research supervisor and Head of School.

Staff conducting research can submit ethics applications directly to the HREC Secretary.   The application must include a completed Human Research Ethics Application Cover Sheet which has been signed by the relevant Head of School.     

4. How strict are submission closing dates for the HREC?

Due to the volume of applications received, and the short time frame for HREC members to review applications, HREC document submission deadlines cannot be overridden.  Applications received after the document deadline will be held over to the next HREC meeting. 

5. Will my application be approved straight away?

Currently, approximately 15% of applications are approved as submitted. There are a number of factors which can prevent your ethics application from being approved on initial review. One of the most common factors being inexperience by the researcher in submitting ethics applications. Students submitting an ethics application must have the application reviewed by their supervisor prior to submission to the HREC. Supervisors will have experience in completing NEAFs and an understanding of what is required by the HREC.

Please see the Helpful hints for completing the NEAF information to assist you in addressing common issues. 

6. What happens following the review of my application by the HREC?

Once your application has been reviewed the minutes of the meeting are compiled for approval by the HREC Chair. The feedback from the meeting is then sent in a Notice of Outcome via email to the applicant and supervisor. 

7. I’ve received my Notice of Outcome and I need to address a few issues.  How do I respond to the Committee’s feedback?

The Notice of Outcome will list the changes that need to be made or the additional information that is required.  Where the Committee says 'for noting', this is not something that must be changed but should be acknowledged by the applicant. 

If revisions are required, changes should be done on the NEAF. The revised NEAF, any revised attachments and a summary of the changes made should be returned to the HREC Secretary with an explanatory letter addressing each point raised by the Committee.  Please note that if the explanatory letter is not received with the revised NEAF your resubmitted application will not be reviewed. 

8. What happens once I have submitted my revised application?

On return of the revised NEAF the application will then follow one of two courses of action as indicated on the ethics notice.  These consist of the following:

  1. Full review by HREC;
  2. Review by Chair.

You will be notified of the outcome of your revised application within 7 business days of receipt by the HREC Secretary. 

9. What if I disagree with the decision of the HREC?

It is uncommon for an application to be rejected by the HREC.  If the applicant disagrees with the feedback of the HREC the applicant will need to submit information in an email to the HREC Secretary addressing why the applicant disagrees with the feedback.  This will be assessed by the HREC Chair for review and determination. 

10.  I need to make changes to my approved research or I need more time to complete it. 

To request approval for changes to approved research or an extension of time, an email outlining the request/changes needs to be sent to the HREC Secretary.  If there are any ethical implications that arise due to the change, this will need to be addressed in the email, and updated information sheets and consent forms submitted if necessary. 

11. Do I need to submit a progress report?

Yes.  In accordance with Section 5.5.5 of the National Statement on Ethical Conduct on Human Research (2007), progress reports on approved research must be submitted at least annually.

The ethics approval notice will advise the date that you need to submit your progress report.  Progress reports are to be emailed to the HREC Secretary and should be completed using the progress report template.

Helpful hints for completing the NEAF

1. The HREC requests that all applications include in the Proposal description (p.1) and Description of the project (p.4) how the data will be gathered and then analysed. This answers the question “what will happen to my data (contribution) collected as a result of my participation”. A brief summary of how the data will be analysed sits alongside how the data will be collected and should be included in Section 1.2.1 and referred to in other sections as relevant (such as 6.2 and 8.2.1).

2. The NEAF application must list the student researcher as Associate researcher and NPI ACAP supervisor as Principal Investigator/ researcher (PI) and the HREC will return applications submitted without allocated supervisors and appropriate signatures. The Principal Investigator/ Researcher is the main contact for participants. Student’s private email and phone numbers are not to be given out or used for contact.

3. The HREC asks applicants when describing the project in section 1.2 to rework the project description into plain language as requested in 1.2 (no more than 400 words). Currently applicants cut and paste but the aim is for layperson(s) to understand the project without assumed discipline knowledge and professional and academic jargon.

4. Researcher /Investigators. Please make sure 2.2.2 has up-to-date profile of Principal Investigator’s qualifications and relevant expertise and 2.3.1 for student applicant (Associate Researcher). In particular HREC needs to assess students’ training in methodologies and ethics of research.

5. In our experience with NPI ACAP applicants all projects to date carry some risk. So please tick ‘Yes’ in 5.3.4 and answer 5.3.5 and attach list of referral services in application.

6. 6.1 Research participants and ethical considerations specific to participants. Please read section 4 of NH&MRC National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research when filling in this section. This section is primarily designed if any of the population groups listed here are your primary focus (primarily with medical research applicants) and as such has special protocols to follow. However if you tick probable coincidental recruitment then you are required to give a brief description of how you will handle this group against the protocols outlined in Section 4 (pp.51-75).

Note: It is extremely unlikely that your population with capture people highly dependent on medical care who may be unable to give consent so don’t tick this category and this is true for people who may be involved in illegal activities unless you are researching in the criminal justice system or at risk populations e.g. child abuse, DV etc. However it is likely that your population might coincidentally include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and then you need to briefly address six core values (reciprocity, respect, equality, responsibility, survival and protection and spirit and integrity). Again these are more significant if this is major focus of your project. Here’s a script for ATSI that might be useful for this section.

"With regard to the probably coincidental recruitment of Aboriginal or Torres Strait (ATSI) Peoples, it should be noted that the research does not breach any of the 6 core values identified as being important to ATSI Peoples. Thus, this research does not present any foreseeable risks for these peoples."

You can adjust this text for other probable coincidental recruitment.

7. All applications need to be signed by Head of School and researchers. For resubmits you need to indicate that the PI (supervisor) has approved the reworked application.

8. Permission to use other sites must be attached to application.