External Researchers Conducting Research Involving Members of the U of T Community, Guideline on

October 2020, Amended March 2024

The University of Toronto receives many requests to include members of its community in research studies conducted by researchers from outside of the University. Most of this research is governed by regulations and procedures set forth in the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (2018).

This guideline establishes procedures for prior approval of any form of research involving U of T students, faculty, librarians, staff, or alumni that is conducted by researchers from outside of the University of Toronto.

Such approval is required given that the University conducts occasional quality assurance surveys of its community members, and many of its researchers also conduct research studies of community members, and it is important to avoid conflict among surveys, repetition, and the possibility of ‘survey fatigue’ that might reduce responses. This guideline also seeks to ensure that research conducted by researchers from outside of the University does not conflict with the plans and priorities of the University or its administrative/academic units.

Please note: All requests to survey U of T MD Program Students should use this form developed by the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, rather than the form below. Questions regarding the surveying of MD program students can be directed to the MD Program’s Office of Assessment and Evaluation at md.oae@utoronto.ca. Requests to survey U of T postgraduate medical education fellows (‘medical residents’) should be sent to the Associate Dean, Post-MD Education within the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, at adpgme@utoronto.ca, rather than through the process outlined in this guideline. 

Types of research covered

This guideline applies to any researcher who is not a U of T student, faculty, librarian, instructor, researcher, or staff member that intends to conduct any form of research that involves U of T students, faculty, librarians, instructors, staff, or alumni. Researchers from outside of U of T who would like to conduct surveys, focus groups, interviews, or participant observations of U of T students, faculty, librarians, staff, or alumni will be required to follow the process set out in this guideline.


Researchers from institutions other than U of T are requested to submit their research proposal to their home institution’s research ethics board prior to requesting approval under this guideline to conduct research involving U of T students, faculty, librarians, staff, or alumni. Confirmation of approval from the external institution’s research ethics board should be included with the approval request form submitted to U of T under this guideline.

Researchers wishing to conduct research that falls under this guideline should complete the approval request form, with relevant materials attached (including confirmation of their home institution’s REB approval), found at https://uoft.me/ExternalSurveyApprovals.

Requests will be reviewed by the Vice-Provost, Students (for requests to conduct research involving students); the Vice-Provost, Faculty & Academic Life (for requests to conduct research involving faculty or librarians); the Vice-President, Human Resources and Equity (for requests to conduct research involving staff); and/or the Assistant Vice-President, Alumni Relations (for requests to survey alumni), or their delegates. Only one form needs to be completed for each research proposal, even if multiple groups of U of T participants (eg. faculty and students) are involved in the research.


Researchers will normally receive approval or feedback on their request within three weeks of submission of a complete approval request form. Decisions under this Guideline will be final.

Any questions or concerns regarding this guideline should be sent to survey.approvals@utoronto.ca.