Department of Education changes

There are changes to the process for seeking approval from the Department of Education and Training (the Department) to conduct research in Victorian government schools and early childhood settings.

The Research in Schools and Early Childhood Settings (RISEC) application process aims to ensure that research conducted with the involvement of schools and early childhood settings is appropriate to the goals of the education system and upholds the Department’s duty-of-care for students and staff.

The changes to RISEC include:

  • Two tier review process, with a streamlined assessment process for applications deemed to be of lower risk (according to criteria set by the Department)
  • Increased onus on researchers to submit quality research proposals that are complete, well-developed, and free of errors
  • Renewed emphasis on the reporting requirements for researchers, which include provision to the Department of a concise summary report outlining key findings, at the conclusion of the project
  • Requirement to provide evidence of an application to, or approval from, a Human Research Ethics Committee (where applicable)
  • New application form and guidelines for applicants.

As part of these changes, the Department will not accept applications that are incomplete, where the method does not coherently address the research questions, or where the research is on topics that are not relevant to education, or childhood and adolescent development.

The new process will take effect from Monday 2 September. A new application form and guidelines for applicants will become available on the Department’s website on that date.

DET also reminds universities of their responsibility to provide quality assurance on research projects proposed by their staff and students. Common issues with applications have included submission of inadequately proofed documents, and proposals that do not comply with the Department’s policies, or which lack an appropriately rigorous methodology. In the past these issues have been observed across applications from all Victorian universities running research programs on education and related topics.

MGSE Ethics Studio
Possibilities and pitfalls of using social media in social science research

Date: Wednesday 28 August
Time: 2pm - 3pm
Venue: 100 Leicester Street, Level 2, Rooms L219/221
Presenter: Associate Professor Peggy Kern

Social media can be a treasure trove for social scientists, offering rich behavioural, psychological, and social information, and creating numerous opportunities for studying and intervening with users efficiently and at large scale. Drawing on a range of studies in which we analyzed linguistic information available through Facebook and Twitter, I will illustrate some of the possibilities that social media offers to social science research. Yet social media is also a fast-moving space, good intentions can lead to unintentional harms, and regulating this research is novel for many ethics groups. I will highlight some of the pitfalls to watch out for, opening a conversation around best practice approaches for the oversight and ethical use of social media data in social science research.

MGSE Human Ethics Advisory Group (HEAG) update

The HEAG is continually working to improve the ethics review process for researchers within MGSE. As presented at MGSE information sessions earlier in the year, the HEAG is currently trialing some new review processes such as a dedicated minimal risk ethics committee. They are also working on forming an 'expert' group to review the standard risk applications. The group is looking for staff with experience in reviewing ethics applications to help out with this. If you are interested please contact Professor Dianne Vella-Brorick, MGSE HEAG Chair directly via email