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Research Common @ Red Deer Polytechnic

Information on conducting original research and on the supports available for research at Red Deer Polytechnic.

General Resources

Research methods and design are shifting in response to COVID-19 and the related public health measures necessary to ensure the safety of the population. Below are some resources to help you design or redesign your research project during the COVID-19 outbreak:

Research Ethics During COVID-19

Researchers starting new research projects with human participants, including Course Based Student Research, will be required to submit a COVID-19 Research Plan. Details of a plan should appear in the Project Application form as well as in the COVID-19 New Research Plan form.

Please consult Considerations for Amendments to Research Impacted by COVID-19 for guidance on how to design the proposed research project to address the impact of COVID-19.  The Research Ethics Board and the Research Common can also be consulted. If the application does not reflect thorough consideration of the impact that COVID-19 will have on the proposed project, it will be returned for revision.

Completed Project Application forms and the COVID-19 New Research Plan form are to be submitted to ethics@rdpolytech.ca. Allow 2-3 weeks for review of your application. 

If you have any questions, or need assistance with the form or designing a COVID-19 Research Plan, please contact the REB at ethics@rdpolytech.ca. This email account will be monitored over the summer, however, same-day reply may not be possible. 

Videoconferencing Recommendations

When conducting research remotely (i.e., outside of institutional firewalls and/or physical security protections), researchers must take additional caution to protect participants' privacy, confidentiality, and data security (also ensuring to follow institutional policy). 

Become familiar with all features of selected online platforms and ensure to set up data collection in a way that mitigates any privacy, confidentiality or data security risks. 

Ensure any technological platforms being used have been recommended by Red Deer Polytech and the REB. NOTE: Microsoft Teams, Blackboard Collaborate, and WebEx have been recommended as the preferred platforms for secure remote communication. If you wish to use WebEx please send an email to the IT Service Desk.

Survey Tools

There are a variety of tools available for creating online surveys. Red Deer Polytechnic endorses no particular online survey tool; however, it is important for you to know that if the tool is owned by an American company (e.g. Survey Monkey, Google Docs), then you need to advise your survey participants appropriately of the possible risks to confidentiality or anonymity. Online survey tools that are owned by American companies are subject to U.S. laws, in particular the U.S. Patriot Act, which allows authorities access to the records of internet service providers. 

Unless you indicate otherwise when constructing your survey, a U.S.-based company's servers will record incoming IP addresses, including those of the computers that participants use to access the survey. You are advised to set up your survey to collect anonymous responses. The procedure for this depends on the type of collector/s you use:

  1. If you use a Web Link collector (or any other collector), you must configure it to not collect IP addresses.
  2. If you use the Email Invitation collector, you must configure it to not save the email addresses (in the Analyze section) and not to collect IP addresses.

If you choose to use a U.S.-based survey tool, the Research Ethics Board recommends you include a statement informing your participants.

If you choose to investigate a Canadian-based survey tool, the following links may be helpful:

Red Deer Polytechnic's Research Common does have a limited number of accounts with a Canadian-based survey tool available for student and faculty use (first priority is given to students). Please contact Michelle Edwards Thomson at michelle.edwards.thomson@rdpolytech.ca for more information.