Return to: Institutional Review Board
The Institutional Review Board (IRB) is required to review all research proposals, formal and informal, funded or not, that are prepared by students, instructors, and staff, especially those that involve the use of human participants. The IRB is legally required to ensure all the following standards are met:
- Risks are justified in terms of related benefits to the participants and society.
- Participants engage in research willingly and knowingly to the extent possible.
- Research methods are appropriate to the objectives of the research.
- Research methods are the safest possible and are consistent with sound research design.
- Participants’ privacy is protected.
- Research is monitored.
To accomplish these purposes, researchers are required to complete the appropriate applications and obtain the board’s approval whenever research involving human participants is proposed, prior to beginning research with human participants. Applying the U.S. federal government’s definitions, a human participant is a living individual about whom an investigator conducting research obtains (a) data through intervention or interaction with the individual, or (b) identifiable private information, and research is a systematic investigation (i.e., the gathering and analysis of information) designed to develop or contribute to generalized knowledge.
All research projects involving collection or analysis of data (whether from surveys, interviews, observation, student or employee work products, or records of any type) must be reviewed and approved by the IRB. Moreover, no member of the university community may commence any research procedure involving human participants until it has been approved by the IRB. The only categories of research that do not need to be submitted for IRB approval are literature reviews and hypothetical research designs.