The University of Guelph is committed to providing undergraduate/ associate diploma students with opportunities to engage in original research projects, including the opportunity to engage in independent study options, conducted under the supervision of a faculty member and involving the student pursuing original research. These projects might take a range of forms, as appropriate to the student’s course of study. A student wishing to pursue an independent research project should consult with the academic advisor for the program or the coordinator of the course in which the project will be undertaken. The advisor/coordinator can provide guidance about undertaking these projects including regulations concerning independent research projects specific to the program and/or department/ college.
Members of faculty who undertake the supervision of independent research projects assume the responsibility of ensuring that the project complies with regulations, policies and procedures. The successful completion of an independent research project often depends on significant preparation in advance, involving collaboration and agreement between the student and their supervisor. This includes establishing a description of the project, and a scheme of grading, as well as deadlines for the submission of work. A student should plan their project a least a semester before the formal undertaking of the project.
Further, the instructor and student should ensure that if the project involves the human participants, or the use of live animals, the project has appropriate approval from the Research Ethics Board, or the Animal Care Committee, as appropriate. The preparation of the documentation required for approval by the Research Ethics Board or the Animal Care Committee takes several weeks. In accordance with the Canadian Council on Animal Care, anyone who is handling animals for purposes of teaching or research must have appropriate training which is provided by the University of Guelph.
When a project involves risk—including handling dangerous materials—the supervisor (and student, as appropriate) should consult with Occupational Health and Safety to ensure compliance with standards of health and safety.
A student whose independent research project involves international travel must consult with the staff in the Centre for International Programs to ensure that they have completed the University’s mandatory pre-departure orientation in order to be prepared appropriately to travel outside Canada.