Join our FREE network for latest news, events, training, research, sponsorship opportunities and more

Obtaining Ethics Approval


All new research and evaluation projects which intend to involve humans will require ethics approval. If you are collecting data from a group e.g. through a survey or an interview and if you intend to publish or use this information you must ensure you have considered the ethical implications.

For example:

  • Will there be any risk to individuals involved in your project? Possible risks include potential psychological or emotional distress or risks associated with sharing information.
  • How will you store the data you collect? Who will have access to it? Where will the data be published?
  • Do the participants know their rights? e.g. the right to withdraw their data or involvement in the project at any time without negative consequences.
  • Are the participants able to understand the project’s aims and provide informed consent? Working with minors and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations need particular consideration for example.
  • Are the participants vulnerable? e.g. people with mental health problems or disabilities or those in carer-dependent relationships.
  • Is the project conducted in a manner that is respectful of all participants’ welfare and culturally acceptable?


Applications for ethics approval can be submitted to a Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC). There are HRECs in public hospitals, universities, some private hospitals, the Department of Health (for patient record data), Silver chain, and the WA Country Health Service.

Ethics submissions can really add value to a project proposal and help ensure problems are avoided. Seeking ethics approval should be started as soon as possible since approval may take up to 6 weeks or longer. The SiREN team can guide you through the process of seeking ethics approval for your project. Please contact us if you need support


Research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People

All research with Aboriginal populations must be submitted to the Western Australian Aboriginal Health Information And Ethics Committee (WAAHEC). The following resources may also be of interest: