Ethics – Human Case Study (2010) - Identifying Smells

Mon, 2012-02-27 10:31 -- pwhippey

Description of the Project

Can subjects identify smells without seeing the object? This experiment asked subjects to smell small canisters that held oil-based fragrances, such as, peppermint, apple cinnamon, eucalyptis, cranberry and orange. They had ten seconds to smell the oil based frragrances and identify the smell. If they correctly identified the smell, a yes was recorded on the tally sheet. If they did not correctly identify the scent a no was recorded.

Advice or Ruling

This project involves the participation of humans, so that informed consent is required. Please consult this web site: for a description on how to do this.

This is important, because some people are susceptible to certain smells, so that perfume is banned in some hospitals for example,

The Ethics Committee has agreed that this investigation does not violate the ban on ingestion projects.

This project is approved for display at the Regional Science Fair and the Canada Wide Science Fair.

Your Project

If your proposed science fair project involves the participation of humans or the use of animals,
  1. Visit the Ethics web page so as to become familiar with the policies.
  2. Fill in the Request for Advice or a Ruling.
  3. Submit it to the Ethics Committee of your Regional Science Fair.


These case studies summarize interesting examples of science fair projects involving humans or animals submitted to the Youth Science Canada National Ethics Committee for review. A brief description of the proposed project is given, along with the ruling given by the Ethics Committee. Some details may have been changed in the descriptions so that the original source cannot be identified. The ethical challenges described have not been changed.