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ACE September Newsletter: Course-Based Research: What Is It and What Supports Are There?

Aug 23, 2021 | Academic Centre of Excellence

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Many Canadore College courses include class projects and/or activities designed to develop research and inquiry skills.
Course-based projects may be carried out by individual students, small groups, or as a class. The instructor of the course is designated as the primary investigator and is responsible for the training of research ethics and the ethical conduct of the students within the course. Canadore encourages the learning of research methodologies and techniques by students. Class exercises may not fit the standard definition of research in the sense that the results are not intended for publication or for generalization to other situations. However, the potential for risk to participants involved in course-based research activities requires the instructor to submit the protocol and associated supporting documents to the Nipissing University Research Ethics Board (NUREB) for review. The NUREB reviews protocols on behalf of both Canadore College and Nipissing University.

Course-based research activities vary in scope, and may include:

•    Having students conduct interviews, administer standard tests, or distribute questionnaires to develop interview- or questionnaire-design skills;

•    Conducting research projects where students pose research questions, gather data from human participants, or analyze the data for oral or written presentation exclusively within the course;

•    Observing people in public places where individuals or groups targeted for observation have no reasonable expectation of privacy, and any dissemination of research results does not allow the identification of specific individuals; or

•    Conducting other activities that would be considered research within the disciplinary traditions in which the course is being taught.

In some class situations, students are expected to use methods that are exclusively required for pedagogical purposes and not conducted within the context of, or embedded within, a research framework. For example, professional faculties have students conduct interviews as part of skill development or individual knowledge acquisition. Information-gathering projects within these situations are not subject to NUREB review requirements; however, they must align with the appropriate professional standards or codes of conduct and review processes required by the relevant faculty.

Should you be planning a research-based project or require further clarification on whether the partnered project you have planned constitutes research, please reach out to the Research Office at or attend the professional development opportunity on September 1, 2021, at 9 am via Teams.