Do I need ethics committee approval?

The Principal Investigator is best placed to understand how the guidelines for requirement of ethics approvals apply to the research s/he plans to undertake. However, if you still have queries regarding requirements for ethical review after having read the guidelines please send an outline of your project to

Which ethics committee?

Health and Disability Ethics Committees (HDEC)

HDECs provide protection for participants in research in the health and disability sector. The online HDEC application system allows you to select review by the committee nearest to you or to submit to the next available committee meeting (which may not be the nearest committee).

Institutional Ethics Committees (IEC)

IECs are run by New Zealand universities and private companies. As a general guide, research originating in a tertiary educational institution will normally be reviewed by an ethics committee of that institution. The Health Research Council Ethics Committee has produced referral guidelines to clarify when an institutional ethics committee should refer a study to the appropriate Health and Disability Ethics Committee.

Below are some specific considerations, and relevant resources, that you may need to take into account for your particular research:

Is your study an observational study?

Observational studies include observational research (which primarily adds to generalisable knowledge about a health or disability issue) and also audits and related activities, (which primarily improve the delivery of the particular health or disability support service being studied or to control a threat to public health).

Observational studies are where the investigator has no control over study variables and merely observes outcomes, and observational studies differ from intervention or experimental studies in that no intervention other than the recording, classifying, counting and analysing of data takes place.

More information:

National Ethics Advisory Committee - Ethical Guidelines for Observational Studies: Observational Research, Audits and Related Activities.

Is your study an intervention study?

In an intervention study, an investigator intervenes to prevent, diagnose or treat illness or disease, and also studies the effects of the intervention for its safety and/or benefit. A clinical trial of a new blood pressure medicine is an example of an intervention study.

More information:

National Ethics Advisory Committee - Ethical Guidelines for Intervention Studies

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