FAQs for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies
What follows are general answers to some of the larger questions involved in Ethics Protocols for research with performance. However, it is only a guideline, and each study must be evaluated individually. When in doubt, please consult with Dean Sharpe at REB, Antje Budde at CDTPS, and especially your own supervisor.
Do I require an Ethics Protocol for my Ph.D. research?
This question can only be answered on a case-by-case basis. The majority of projects undertaken by Ph.D. students at CDTPS do not require an ethics protocol. However, these numbers have been changing in recent years, as more and more of our students are conducting practice-based, performance, and interview-based work. As a general rule, if you are conducting interviews, or organizing a rehearsal/performance process for the purposes of your thesis study, then you will require an Ethics Protocol.
It is likely you will require a protocol if you are:
- Interviewing artists, practitioners, and members of the public
- Creating a rehearsal/performance process for the express purposes of your Ph.D. research (unless you are the only participant)
- Soliciting audience responses to performances, either through survey, interview, or other methods
- Testing a theory or creating a space of observation within a rehearsal or performance setting
- Conducting any population survey work
It is likely you will not require a protocol if you are:
- Observing public performances
- Observing someone else’s rehearsal process
(but not interviewing or leading a focus group)
- Attending public, post-show talk backs
(though if you are moderating or hoping to quote people directly, that may fall under ethics review)
- Basing your research on published documents and public events
- Creating a solo performance for yourself
Do I require an Ethics Protocol for my course work?
Again, the answer is determined based on what it is you would like to do. It is best to consult with the course instructor on whether a protocol is necessary. It is likely that you do not require a protocol, unless your work involves research on people. For more information, please read “Course-based Research” found at: http://www.research.utoronto.ca/faculty-and-staff/research-ethics-and-protections/humans-in-research/
Which REB does CDTPS apply to?
Social Sciences, Humanities and Education REB
Chair: Professor Sarah Wakefield
Research Ethics Manager: Dr. Dean Sharpe
Departments covered: All disciplines in the social sciences, humanities, education (OISE/UT), applied sciences.
At what point should I apply to the REB for review?
You must apply before you begin your field research. The REB requires that the thesis proposal be approved. At CDTPS, we recommend that this step be taken after the prospectus defense. It may occur at any stage after the proposal has been approved. Ex: a 4th year student, who is in the process of writing chapter two, has the opportunity to privately interview the playwright she is studying. She can apply for ethics review at this point (leaving ample time for review and edits before the protocol is in place and the interview occurs)
What’s the difference between a “delegated” and a “full” review?
This is a REB distinction based on the level of risk expected for research participants, determined through group vulnerability and research risk. Most CDTPS projects fall under delegated review, but not always. Please consult the REB’s risk matrix for more details.
When should I submit my application?
For delegated reviews, the deadline is every Monday by 4 pm. Please apply to: email@example.com. For a full review, the submission deadline is once a month. Please consult the REB website for the dates:
What happens if my research parameters change after my protocol is in place?
Once your protocol is in place, you may request a further review for changes. This will likely take the shape of an amendment to the prior protocol, and keep the same reference number.
What happens in the unlikely event that something goes wrong during the course of my research?
In cases where a person expresses physical or emotional hurt because of the research, it is advisable to report to the Office of Research Ethics as soon as possible. In cases where the research reveals surprising, unexpected, or unhelpful results, the REB does not require a special report.
Where can I get departmental letterhead for my consent forms and letters of information?
To receive departmental letterhead please email Rebecca at firstname.lastname@example.org To view sample theatre and performance studies students ethics applications email Samiha at email@example.com
Who can I speak to with further questions?
Dean Sharpe, Ph.D. is the Research Ethics Board Manager for the Social Sciences and Humanities Office of Research Ethics, University of Toronto. He is always happy to answer questions from students. It is best to contact him through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also speak with any of the faculty members at CDTPS, as well as fellow students who have been through the process before.