Codes and Committees

The National Health and Medical Research Council regularly updates a Statement on Ethical Conduct in Research Involving Humans. Guidelines regarding ethical procedures in social research generally are provided by bodies such as: The Australian Sociological Society (TASA), the Market Research Association, and the Social Research Association. Evaluations of projects conducted in a hospital setting will invariably have to be passed by a specific ‘Ethics Committee’ or ‘Review Board’, who will assess the proposed evaluation in the light of the issues raised above. Advice concerning procedures should be sought from the appropriate Ethics Committee prior to commencing the study.

The National Health & Medical Research Council’s “National Statement”

  • Attempt to promote unified set of ethical standards for research with humans
  • Requires thorough assessment of proposed research by Human Research Ethics Committees established in all institutions/organisations that receive NHMRC funds for research
  • Constitution and procedures of Committee defined by National Statement
  • Allows cooperation between Committees
  • Endorsed by: Ministers of: Health and Aged Care, Education Training and Youth Affairs, Industry Science and Resources; Australian Vice Chancellors’ Committee; Australian Research Council; Australian Academy of the Humanities; Australian Academy of Science; Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia
  • Supported by Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
  • Reference Point for Research Ethics

Broad Sweep of Ethical Concerns Addressed

  • Variety of data types: observations, interviews, records
  • Emphasis on: Research for person or “collectives”; Beneficence; Justice; Integrity; Consent; Privacy; Intellectual Property
  • Variety of Subject Scenarios: Young people; Intellectual and mental impairment; People dependent on Medical Care; Collectives; People in unequal relationships; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders
  • Epidemiological Research
  • Range of “medical” research approaches

If the evaluation involves Aboriginal people, your proposal should be approved by The Aboriginal Health Research Ethics Committee of SA (AHREC) even if it has already been approved by another ethics committee.

Aboriginal Health Research

If your project includes undertaking health-related research with Aboriginal people or communities in South Australia, you are required to submit your proposal to the Aboriginal Health Research Ethics Committee of South Australia (AHREC). This is necessary even if approval has been obtained from other institutions such as hospitals or universities. AHREC is a sub committee of the Aboriginal Health Council Inc, which is the peak community-based body for Aboriginal health in South Australia. AHREC is recognised by the National Health & Medical Research Council to be an Institutional Ethics Committee. The committee meets monthly and requests for ethics approval need to be made in writing.


Access to records
What is an evaluation plan?