Is my project QI/QA/PE or research?

Learn the difference and whether or not ethics approval is needed before you begin

    Quality Improvement (QI), Quality Assurance (QA), and Program Evaluation (PE) projects

    • Initiatives that examine activities, programs, or processes within an institution or unit in order to make improvements specifically in that institution or unit
    • An exemption from ethics review may be requested for these studies

    Research projects

    • Efforts to produce or contribute to generalizable knowledge (e.g., testing hypotheses)
    • All research involving human participants requires ethics review

    Is my project QI/QA/PE or research?

    Understand the differences

    Use this table to compare the characteristics of QI/QA/PE and research activities


    Categorize your study

    Review this flowchart to help categorize your study as QI/QA/PE or research


    Assess risk

    Complete the ARECCI Screening Tool to assess potential risks to participants

    ARECCI Tool

    Request exemption

    If Steps 1-3 indicate that your project is QI, QA, or PE, you still need to request an exemption from CHREB ethics review before beginning your study. 

    To request an exemption, email CHREB all of the following information:

    Project proposal/protocol

    Completed ARECCI Tool

    As a PDF or link to the results webpage


    A paragraph justifying your belief that this is a QI, QA, or PE project (using language from the table and flowchart in Steps 1-2).

    Statement of support

    A statement noting that the FoN Dean or authorized clinic/department lead supports this as a QI, QA, or PE project - optional, but useful.