Definition of professional skill development

  • Primary objective is vocational skill development or training which is part of the normal vocational interactions (e.g., nurse and patient; student to student interaction)
  • Key person benefiting from the activity is the student
  • No intentions to produce new knowledge which would be of benefit outside the specific organization within which the skills are being developed
  • Key focus and objective is vocational skill development and transfer of job or vocational related training
  • Skills being developed typically form part of the typical vocations requirements (i.e., are not incidental skills within occupation or vocation)
  • No intent for the results or information collected to meet scholarly or academic standards
  • Not characterized as research in syllabus, assessments, descriptions
  • Not listed as a ‘thesis’ in course description or syllabus
  • Typical contacts are people who are within classroom, department, faculty, or within the organization within which the skills are being developed
  • Typically, will not be disseminated outside the student group, or the classroom/department/faculty
  • Final report would not meet disciplinary standards for academic publishing or presentation to external scholarly groups
  • Example: Conducting an interview with a potential client

Applying the definition to entrepreneurial activities (e.g., design activities):

  • Primarily professional skills are being developed include assessing customer needs or conducting a market analysis or assessment
  • Data or information collected is used internally by student group to improve the development of the product or service
  • Findings/results are unlikely to be communicated outside the student group
  • Typically involves adults over the age of 18 and healthy populations
  • Objective of data collection is to focus on the creation and development of a test or prototype product or service (e.g., mobile app) or data collection is used to inform management decision-making on how to improve the test or prototype product.
    • When creating or developing devices or equipment an Equipment and Device Safety Review by the Safety Office may be required. Contact the Safety Office or ORE staff to discuss.
  • Example: Needs analysis with prospective clients or customers, market analysis to refine design of test or prototype product or service, feedback on service levels provided


Course-based research - requires ethics review

Exceptions - activities that require ethics review