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Welcome & Instructions
About the Tutorial for the TCPS
Introducing the TCPS
Section 1: Ethics Review
Section 2: Free and Informed Consent
Section 3: Privacy and Confidentiality
Section 4: Conflict of Interest
Section Overview
Ethics Context
Conflicts of Interests Involving Researchers
Conflicts of Interests Involving REB Members
Institutional Conflicts of Interest
Case Studies
Progress Check
Section 5: Inclusion in Research
PRE Web Site
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Tutorial: Ethical Conduct of Research involving Humans: Section 4: Conflict of Interest

Case Study 1
Evacuation From an Office Building Fire

The ability to evacuate a large building in an emergency requires knowledge about appropriate building design, and also about effective procedures for rapid exit, including training of occupants. In order to obtain adequate information about evacuation of large buildings, it is important that researchers learn from actual experiences.

Researchers designed a project to learn from survivors of a catastrophic fire in a multi-story office building. In particular, the researchers wanted to know 1) how occupants perceived and interpreted the situation and how they made decisions during the emergency, and 2) the extent to which building design and emergency procedures influenced how people responded. They also wanted to document the conditions, such as flame, smoke and behaviour of people in various locations in the building.

A questionnaire approach was used. The companies that had occupied offices in the building were asked to contact their employees who had escaped from the buildings, inviting them to respond directly to the research team.

The questionnaire dealt with issues such as awareness of escape procedures, leadership demonstrated by those designated to act in emergencies, abilities to find exits and use stairs, and the overall comportment of people in the emergency.The questionnaire was sent by mail to the individuals who had escaped from the building. Post-trauma counselling was offered to those who participated in the research.



  1. What would be the appropriate course of action if a member of the research team worked for the group of psychologists providing post-trauma counselling to the survivors of the fire?

  2. What would be the appropriate course of action if one of the statistical consultants to the research team were a member of the REB undertaking the ethics review of the project?



: : Conflicts of Interest Involving Researchers
: : Conflicts of Interest Involving REB Members

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Last Modified: 2009-09-02 Top of Page Important Notices