DAOD 5062-1, Conduct of Social Science Research


1. Introduction

Date of Issue: 2014-06-18

Application: This is a directive that applies to employees of the Department of National Defence (DND employees) and an order that applies to officers and non-commissioned members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF members).

Supersession: CANFORGEN 198/08, Coordination of DND/CF Opinion and Information Gathering and Social Science Research

Approval Authority: Chief of Military Personnel (CMP)

Enquiries: Director General Military Personnel Research and Analysis (DGMPRA)

2. Abbreviations

Abbreviation Complete Word or Phrase

ADM(PA)

Assistant Deputy Minister (Public Affairs)

L1 advisor

level one advisor

MND

Minister of National Defence

PG4

Partner Group 4 (Personnel)

POR

public opinion research

PRA

personnel research advisor

SOP

standard operating procedures

SSRRB

Social Science Research Review Board

3. Overview

Procedures

3.1 Detailed procedures that must be followed in the conduct of social science research projects are set out in the SSRRB SOP.

Note – See section 2 of DAOD 5062-0, Social Science Research, for information describing social science research.

Interpretation

3.2 In this DAOD, "project" refers to a social science research project with DND employees, CAF members or their families, applicants for enrolment in the CAF or members of cadet organizations as research participants.

4. Research Methods

Overview

4.1 The following research methods are briefly described in this section:

  1. qualitative;
  2. quantitative; and
  3. programme evaluation.

Qualitative Method

4.2 The qualitative research method is mainly used to gain insight into people's intentions and perceptions through direct observation, communication with participants or the analysis of texts. This method may stress contextual and subjective accuracy over generality.

4.3 This method may be used to generate new programmes or service concepts, examine knowledge of and experiences with a product, programme or service, and solicit feedback for service and product improvement.

4.4 Techniques used in this method include surveys, focus groups, personal interviews and small group discussions.

Quantitative Method

4.5 The quantitative research method is a systematic method used to collect and analyze information when descriptive or inferential statistics are required.

4.6 This method may be used to evaluate the effectiveness of a programme or service, to measure DND employee and CAF member satisfaction, and to track changes in attitudes, behaviour and use of services.

4.7 Techniques used in this method include surveys, face-to-face and exit interviews, and self-completed diaries.

Programme Evaluation

4.8 Programme evaluation is experiential research or information gathering from existing stakeholders or subject matter experts using fact- or judgement-based questions to conduct a programme or service delivery evaluation. This method is generally not considered social science research.

4.9 Programme evaluation requires SSRRB coordination if an evaluation involves quantitative or qualitative methods undertaken to:

  1. examine how and why certain outcomes were achieved (not just what was achieved); or
  2. answer important questions about relevance, unintended effects and the impact of programmes.

SSRRB Coordination or Review Not Required

4.10 The following research and methods for obtaining information do not require SSRRB coordination or review:

  1. literature reviews or reviews of secondary sources, including reviews of already conducted POR;
  2. secondary analysis of previously collected POR data;
  3. course critiques;
  4. verification of performance of services or delivery of goods under contractual arrangements;
  5. consultation involving a two-way process of engagement to exchange information between stakeholders and participants if there is no expectation of anonymity;
  6. research in the field of natural sciences; and
  7. programme evaluation other than that described in paragraph 4.9.

Research Proposal

4.11 A research proposal is a detailed research plan setting out how a project is to be conducted, containing as a minimum:

  1. the background and purpose of the project, i.e. the research question or hypothesis;
  2. the qualifications of the researcher;
  3. L1 advisor sponsorship information;
  4. methodology to be used; and
  5. sufficient information to meet the requirements of informed consent.

Research Question or Hypothesis

4.12 The research question or hypothesis provides a focus for ideas and information. It may consists of one or more of the following:

  1. a strong statement that the researcher intends to prove with evidence;
  2. a prediction on how an issue or problem might be resolved; or
  3. a prediction of study outcomes.

4.13 The SSRRB uses the research question or hypothesis as a guide to focus their technical review of the appropriateness of proposed survey, focus group and interview questions.

Informed Consent

4.14 All projects require informed consent by research participants. Informed consent is provided when a research participant:

  1. understands the purpose, rationale, procedures, risks, benefits, time commitment and expected outcomes of the project; and
  2. has voluntarily agreed to participate in the project.

4.15 Informed consent may be provided by a research participant either signing a consent form, or reading and accepting the conditions of participation of an on-line survey. A research participant may withdraw their consent at any time. The informed consent of a parent or guardian is also required if a research participant is considered a minor under applicable provincial or territorial law.

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5. General Responsibilities

Introduction

5.1 The following table identifies the general responsibilities associated with this DAOD:

The … is or are responsible for …

DGMPRA

  • ensuring that all projects conform to applicable policies, instructions and guidelines, including the:
    • Treasury Board Communications Policy of the Government of Canada; and
    • Tri-Council Statement: Ethical Conduct of Research Involving Humans of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada;
  • conducting and delivering, in partnership with Defence Research and Development Canada, DND- and CAF-initiated social science research; and
  • conducting the SSRRB for both internally generated and unsolicited personnel research proposals.

Note 1 – Internally generated social science research is normally conducted by the DGMPRA under the auspices of the PG4 Personnel Research Program.

Note 2 – All social science research that is proposed to be conducted outside of the PG4 Personnel Research Program is considered unsolicited research.

SSRRB Chair

  • screening, reviewing and coordinating all proposed social science research submissions; and
  • notifying the CMP of any non-compliance with this DAOD.

Note – Detailed information on the roles and responsibility of the SSRRB is set out in section 8 of this DAOD and the SSRRB SOP.

DND managers, and commanding officers of units, other elements or cadet corps

  • ensuring that any researcher who contacts any DND employee, CAF member or cadet as a research participant in their organization, unit or other element, or cadet corps only does so after approval for the researcher's project is provided under this DAOD by the SSRRB; and
  • advising the DGMPRA without delay if a researcher contacts or intends to contact any DND employee, CAF member or cadet, in their organization, unit or other element, or cadet corps, without the approval of the researcher's project by the SSRRB.

Application of QR&O

5.2 A CAF member acting as a researcher or research participant must comply with:

  1. QR&O article 19.14, Improper Comments;
  2. QR&O article 19.36, Disclosure of Information or Opinion;
  3. QR&O article 19.37, Permission to Communicate Information; and
  4. QR&O article 19.38, Communications with other Government Departments.

DND Employees and CAF Members at Academic Institutions

5.3 A significant amount of social science research is conducted by DND employees and CAF members who are participating in programmes at academic institutions, whether or not sponsored by the DND or the CAF. As such, the research ethics board of the academic institution, for example, at a Royal Military College, the Royal Roads University or other civilian university, is expected to ensure that the policy goals in respect of the research of the DND employee or CAF member are met.

5.4 A DND employee or CAF member engaged in social science research must comply with both:

  1. the requirements for ethical or technical review imposed by their academic institution; and
  2. the requirements in the SSRRB SOP and any other requirements directed by the SSRRB.

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6. Researcher Responsibilities

Research Proposal

6.1 A researcher submitting a proposal to the SSRRB must ensure that the proposal is well written, clear, concise and detailed, and that all research questions and hypothesis are fully developed, justifiable and meet the standards of professional research practices.

6.2 To assist in developing a proposal, a researcher should request that the SSRRB Coordinator provide the researcher with the SSRRB SOP and submission forms.

Note – It is not the role of the SSRRB to advise researchers on how to construct research questions or how to conduct research.

6.3 A researcher in an organization other than the DGMPRA, Defence Research and Development Canada or an exempt organization (See paragraph 6.8) must consult their academic advisor or otherwise inform themselves on how to develop a research proposal.

6.4 An incomplete proposal that is submitted will be automatically rejected without the benefit of review. Researchers may resubmit proposals once the submission criteria have been met.

Letter of Agreement

6.5 As a condition of approval to proceed, a researcher is required to sign a letter of agreement indicating the researcher will submit copies of their completed project to DGMPRA prior to publication. The purpose of this requirement is to:

  1. control the disclosure of information that could harm the interests of the DND or the CAF or cause harm to DND employees, CAF members or other individuals; and
  2. add to the DND and the CAF knowledge base to facilitate follow-on research, including literature reviews.

Commencement and Conduct of Research

6.6 A project may commence only when an SSRRB approval or coordination number has been issued to the researcher by DGMPRA.

6.7 A researcher who wishes to change the research protocol or questions used in the research, or change the research participant base, must contact the SSRRB for instructions on how to proceed.

Exempt Researchers

6.8 Subject to paragraph 6.9, full-time researchers in the following organizations are exempt from a full SSRRB review but must seek approval using the internal ethical and technical approval process of their organization:

  1. Defence Research and Development Canada;
  2. Director General Health Services;
  3. training authorities identified in DAOD 5031-2, Individual Training and Education Strategic Framework, for the conduct of training verifications;
  4. Canadian Defence Academy, including the Royal Military Colleges;
  5. Canadian Forces Training Development Centre for the purpose of Training Development Officer Basic Qualification Course projects and Training Development Services Programme projects; and
  6. Director Personnel Generation Requirements for the purpose of occupational analyses.

6.9 The SSRRB submission requirement in respect of exempt researchers is normally limited to SSRRB coordination for tracking purposes. However, an SSRRB secretarial or full review may be required based on ethical review or research participant access considerations.

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7. Level One Advisor Responsibilities

Appointment of PRAs

7.1 All L1 advisors must appoint a PRA to assist in the coordination of the approval of projects submitted to the SSRRB for consideration. The purpose of the appointment is to provide an L1 advisor with oversight into projects conducted within their functional areas to:

  1. facilitate reporting science and technology engagement in the annual business planning cycle; and
  2. control the gathering and disclosure of information that could harm the interests of the DND and the CAF or cause harm to DND employees, CAF members or other individuals.

7.2 The PRAs for the environmental chiefs of staff are the command personnel selection officers located within the following directorates:

  1. Director Maritime Personnel;
  2. Director Land Personnel Management; and
  3. Director Air Personnel Strategy.

7.3 For other L1 advisors, the point of contact for the PG4 call letter should normally be appointed as the PRA in order to provide maximum visibility to all social science research being conducted within their organization.

7.4 The SSRRB Coordinator maintains a list of PRAs for L1 advisors.

Applicants for Enrolment in the CAF and Members of the Cadet Organizations

7.5 The CMP is the approval authority for any project involving applicants for enrolment in the CAF or members of the cadet organizations as research participants.

L1 Advisor and PRA Responsibilities

7.6 The responsibilities of L1 advisors and their respective PRAs are set out in the following table:

In respect of ... an L1 advisor, or their respective PRA acting on their behalf, is responsible for …

general administration,

  • considering the sponsorship of proposals for the conduct of projects on a subject matter within their functional areas;
  • granting or refusing approval in principle for researchers to approach research participants in their organizations; and
  • submitting unsolicited projects to DGMPRA for situational awareness.

the sponsorship of a project to be conducted,

  • assisting in the identification of projects that have a POR component requiring the approval of the MND through the ADM(PA) annual call letter process (see policy requirement 8 of the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada for the meaning of POR);
  • ensuring the project is of interest and value to their organization; and
  • responding to any Privacy Act or Access to Information Act requests related to the project or media inquiries resulting from interest in the research.

access to research participants,

  • granting approval in principal for access to research participants, which may involve:
    • managing access to research participants such that the project does not conflict or otherwise interfere with higher L1 advisor priorities;
    • when requested, assisting in identifying research participants; and
    • ensuring affected base and wing commanders are aware of projects to be conducted in their units or other elements, or that involve DND employees or CAF members.

any project conducted under a contractual arrangement,

  • ensuring compliance with the Communications Policy for the Government of Canada and the Treasury Board Contracting Policy.

7.7 A project may require approval from more than one L1 advisor. For example, a CAF-sponsored student undertaking graduate work at Royal Roads University who wishes to conduct research into physical fitness testing with CAF members serving in the Canadian Army, would require the approval of the CMP as sponsor for the functional area of fitness testing, and the Commander, Canadian Army, as the responsible authority for the group of research participants.

L1 Advisor Confirmation

7.8 The SSRRB has the final authority to grant approval to conduct a project. However, an SSRRB approval or coordination number must not be issued without written confirmation, by memorandum or email, from the L1 advisor or respective PRA, indicating that:

  1. L1 advisor sponsorship is granted for the project; and
  2. approval in principal to access or communicate with research participants is granted.

Requirement for MND Approval

7.9 MND approval is required if the project is conducted under a contractual arrangement, and in instances where the research is determined to be significant, or of medium to high importance or risk. The Communications Policy Review Check List (provided in the SSRRB SOP) provides information to help the L1 advisor or their respective PRA to identify significant research that requires the approval of the MND.

7.10 The ADM(PA) is responsible for determining if planned non-contracted research is significant. The research proposal may only be approved by the SSRRB after the ADM(PA) has reviewed and provided comments, including any consideration by the MND.

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8. Social Science Research Review Board

Review Process

8.1 The SSRRB may only accept a submission for review after the researcher has obtained the required sponsorship and approval in principal to have access to research participants.

8.2 The SSRRB reviews a proposal on the basis of its technical merits, including ethics, design and methodology, relevance and timing. The SSRRB may approve a proposal as presented or make recommendations to improve one or more aspects of the proposal. Such recommendations are to be communicated to the researcher, who will then have the opportunity to amend the proposal and resubmit to the SSRRB for a second review.

8.3 Other SSRRB review process details are set out in the SSRRB SOP.

Timing

8.4 The SSRRB sits weekly except during the months of July, August and December. A completed proposal which is submitted by noon on Thursday is normally reviewed by the following Wednesday. If only non-significant revisions are required, an approval number may be issued as soon as the researcher submits proof that amendments have been made. More significant revisions require a second review with the same timings.

SSRRB Rejection

8.5 If the SSRRB rejects a proposal for any reason, the researcher may request reconsideration by the CMP. In addition, CAF members may submit a grievance in accordance with section 29 of the National Defence Act.

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9. Consequences

Consequences of Non-Compliance

9.1 Non-compliance with this DAOD may have consequences for both the DND and the CAF as institutions, and for DND employees and CAF members as individuals. Suspected non-compliance will be investigated. The nature and severity of the consequences resulting from actual non-compliance will be commensurate with the circumstances of the non-compliance.

Note – In respect of the compliance of DND employees, see the Treasury Board Framework for the Management of Compliance for additional information.

10. References

Acts, Regulations, Central Agency Policies and Policy DAOD

Other References

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