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Subject review

Research projects subject to IRB review:
IRB reviews all research that involves human subjects or vertebrate animals.

  • In general, any research that involves direct communication with human subjects including, but not limited to, interviews, surveys, questionnaires, and in some cases observations requires review by IRB.
  • Research that involves the use of sensitive records that are not available to the general public, and that might be seen by persons not intended, also requires review by IRB. Exposure of sensitive information during the research and analysis phase must be considered, as well as release in published reports.
  • All research involving vulnerable populations, such as minors (all individuals under 18 years of age), elderly persons, persons under medical care, pregnant women, and prisoners must be submitted for review.
  • Research involving the possibility of inflicting physical discomfort, confusion or embarrassment must be submitted for review. (A common example is the use of deception which is a necessity in certain research.)
  • In addition, if there is an intent to publish or otherwise make known the results, the project should be submitted
    for IRB review.
  • If you are unsure about whether or not your project is subject to IRB review, please check with the IRB Committee to help you determine whether your research involves human subjects or vertebrate animals, as defined by the institution and federal regulations. Please Note: do not initiate any study or research procedures until receiving notification of exemption or approval from the IRB.
  • See below for information on specific types of IRB review.

Research that is NOT subject to IRB review:

  • Studies that do not involve human subjects, vertebrate animals, or the analysis of data or records that contain sensitive, personal, or classified information. (A common example would be an analysis of newspaper articles or magazine advertisements.)
  • Certain types of human subjects or vertebrate animal research that involves only minimal risk* to may be exempt from review, but the IRB must make the final determination regarding exemption from review.

*Minimal risk is defined in the federal regulations as situations wherein the probability and magnitude of harm or discomfort anticipated in the research are not greater in and of themselves than those ordinarily encountered in daily life or during the performance of routine physical or psychological examinations or tests.

  • See below for information on specific types of IRB review.
  • Contact the IRB Committee for further information regarding studies that may be exempt from IRB review.

Categories of IRB review

  • Exempt review

An Expedited Review is permissible if your project involves minimal contact with human subjects, such as:

    • Non-interactive observations.
    • Research on records that are public information.
    • Research that entails routine assessment by and for academic departments or programs.

For Exempt Reviews, a sub-group of IRB Committee members reviews key components of the research. (Average timeframe for approval is approximately 1 week after submission to IRB.)

  • Expedited review

An Expedited Review is permissible if your project involves more direct contact with human subjects such as:
If your project involves more direct contact with human subjects, such as:

    • Focused interviews
    • Focus groups
    • Oral histories
    • Surveys
    • Interactive observations

For Expedited Reviews, a sub-group of IRB committee members reviews each component of the research, but the application does not require review by the full Committee. (Average timeframe for approval is approximately 1-2 weeks after submission to IRB.)

  • Full review

A Full Review is required if your project involves more direct contact with human subjects, such as:

    • Research involving any vulnerable population [children or adolescents under18 years of age, pregnant women, prison inmates, or other vulnerable populations]
    • Specific experimental treatments.
    • Research utilizing records that are not publicly available.
    • Research that involves the collection of sensitive or personal information.
    • Research that involves any form of deception with regard to research subject.

For full reviews, the IRB Committee looks over each component of the study design, and may provide feedback or recommendations for revisions in some areas. (Average timeframe for approval is approximately 1-3 weeks after submission to IRB.)

    
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