The impact of ethics review on a research-led university curriculum

Results of a qualitative study in Australia

L. L. Wynn*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


In the human sciences, a student research-centered pedagogy is constrained by institutional ethics review, yet there is little research on the impact of ethics review on research-led teaching. This article documents a range of ways that Australian universities are responding to ethics review of undergraduate human research. Forty teachers and administrators were interviewed at 14 universities using purposive sampling to document the range of ways teachers are avoiding ethics review or incorporating it into their curriculum. Some reported halting undergraduate research or evading ethics review, regarding it as meaningless bureaucracy divorced from actual ethical thinking. Those who incorporated ethics review into student research did so by collaborating with administrators. Institutions can facilitate research-led teaching by designing dedicated forms and decentralized review procedures for student research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-190
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016


  • student research
  • teaching
  • qualitative research
  • bureaucracy
  • forms

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