Policies and Procedures for Core Researchers and Graduate Students wishing to conduct research through Western’s Mary J. Wright Research and Education Centre at Merrymount.
General Research Guidelines
The following guidelines have been established to promote communication between researchers and MJW staff, protect the welfare of the children and the regular functioning of the programs, and to facilitate research.
- The Mary J. Wright Centre will only support funded research (i.e., researchers must have external funding) that is central to the mission of the Centre.
- When applying for funded research through the Mary J. Wright Centre, please include in your request for funds any assessment costs or costs associated with identification of participants or database management related to your research.
- The Centre Managing Director or designee will take responsibility for documenting and scheduling all research taking place at Merrymount through MJW, including student research projects.
- The number of researchers in Merrymount at any given time will be limited depending on the approval of the Managing Director who will take into consideration factors such as the nature of ongoing activities and impact on the Merrymount program, with consultation from Merrymount.
- Researchers may be requested to spend time within the program in order to establish some rapport with the children and/or families, depending on the nature of the research request.
- Equipment used must be incorporated into the environment in the least obtrusive way possible. Investigators are responsible for setting up and taking down their research materials and storing them between sessions.
- Interviews and questionnaires to be completed by parents and children must be non-judgemental, of culture, socio-economic conditions, gender, ability/disability or lifestyle choices. Consultation with the Managing Director of MJW (who may consult with the Merrymount program lead) is ideal if interviews or questionnaires are anticipated to be of a sensitive nature.
- Prior to implementing your study, all researchers or students working directly with children must have a Police Vulnerable Persons screening completed within the past year and provided to the Managing Director of MJW.
- Please remember that it is the child’s right to refuse participation. For younger children, it is especially important to be aware of non-verbal signs that a child does not wish to participate. The comfort level of children should be given a priority and the researchers may need to provide some flexibility when needed.
- Any research being conducted at MJW must first pass ethics approval by Western University’s Ethics Board (REB). Please note that Western Research Ethics Board approval is valid for a period of one year. If your research extends beyond one year, you will be required to renew your ethics approval for the study.
- The Interagency Advisory Panel on Research Ethics has developed an introductory tutorial for the Tri-Council Policy Statement (TCP-2): Ethics Board recommends that all prospective applicants register and take this tutorial to become more familiar with the TCPS-2. For more information, visit: http://www.pre.ethics.gc.ca/eng/education/tutorial-didacticiel/
- Once ethics approval has been procured from the Western REB, the researcher(s) must:
- Submit a Research Implementation form and attach a copy of the letter of approval from Western REB to the Managing Director of MJW.
- Contact the Managing Director of MJW to arrange a meeting to discuss implementation.
- Merrymount, in association with MJW employs a blanket consent form that is signed and submitted by all families upon seeking services at Merrymount. Parents will be told of the Centre’s role in research from the outset and of their relationship with Merrymount: researchers may be observing, collecting data, or at times, interacting with their child. Depending on the nature of your data collection method (e.g., if you are employing non-obtrusive observation) you may not need to have additional consent forms signed, but you still must receive ethics approval from the REB in order to carry out your study. In most cases, it will be necessary to procure additional consent for your study, a consent form that has been included in your ethics application and approved by the REB may be used as an additional consent form.
- The researcher is responsible for bringing a copy of the parent/guardian consent form to the Managing Director of MJW for review prior to data collection. Distribution and collection of the signed consent form will be decided based on discussion from the Merrymount staff directly working with the family(ies). Data collection will not be able to begin with children until signed consent forms from parents/guardians have been returned to the Managing Director of MJW. Assent forms may be required by the REB and may be presented to the child(ren) prior to data collection.
- Given the Centre’s strong commitment to knowledge sharing for the purposes of the mutual learning of scientists, practitioners, students, and families, a mandatory knowledge translation plan is required.
- Feedback to parents/guardians around research may be reviewed by the Managing Director of MJW before it is disseminated as appropriate.