Information About the IRB for Student Researchers
Purpose of the Institutional Review Board
The Institutional Review Board (IRB) is a campus-wide committee established under the authority of the Vice President for Academic Affairs to ensure that the rights and welfare of human subjects are adequately protected in all research and training projects. The University has authorized the Institutional Review Board to review and approve all human subject research. IRB’s are required both by University policy and by the Federal Government.
The Review Process
All projects involving minors or any other vulnerable population as subjects must be reviewed by the IRB. In addition, projects that are externally funded, that investigate behaviors and/or experiences related to sensitive topics, that are used as partial fulfillment of Master’s Degree requirements, or that place subjects at more than minimal risk must be reviewed by the IRB. Other types of minimal risk projects may be reviewed by an IRB-approved Peer Review Committee. Peer Review is conducted by faculty members who are members of a Peer Review Committee in a specific academic department. Peer Review Committees are not available in all departments. IF A PEER REVIEW COMMITTEE IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR YOUR DEPARTMENT, YOU MUST HAVE YOUR PROJECT REVIEWED BY THE IRB. This includes both high- and low-risk projects! The review of projects involving human subjects is confined to procedures affecting the rights and welfare of human subjects. No evaluation is made of the content or scientific merit of the project, unless subjects are found to be at risk. The review focuses on such issues as risk to subjects, voluntary participation, informed consent and confidentiality. One of the primary roles of the IRB is educational. Each project is reviewed individually and the IRB encourages discussion during all stages of the process.
Procedures for Approval of Projects Involving Human Subjects
1. Obtain a copy of the Application for Approval of Investigations Involving the Use of Human Subjects. This form and sample consent forms are available in the Grants Office (McClain 203) or on the forms page.
2. Fill out all sections of the form as completely as possible and attach letters of consent, surveys, and other pertinent information. Type or word process all responses; hand-written applications will not be accepted. Provide specific responses that relate to your project. General responses such as “This project is usual educational procedure,” or “The information collected will be available to the University community,” cannot be accepted and will delay the review of your application.
3. Secure the approval signature of your faculty sponsor and sign the application yourself. Applications submitted without the signature of a faculty sponsor will be returned without review.
4. Submit the completed application and other documentation to the Grants Office at least one week before the next regularly scheduled IRB meeting. Your application will be considered at the next regularly scheduled meeting, and you and your faculty sponsor will receive the results of the review within one week after the meeting.