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Human Subjects Research

The Review Process

Review and approval of proposed research activities that involve the use of human subjects is required prior to the start of data collection. Projects which are not reviewed and approved prior to the start of data collection cannot receive "retroactive" approval.

For all projects the department chair (or authorized departmental reviewer) is required to conduct a thorough review and sign the application; a student project also requires the signature of the student's faculty advisor. Regardless of review category, review forms must be submitted to the Office of Research Compliance (301 Lowden Hall) promptly upon completion of the departmental review.

  • For a list of current authorized departmental reviewers, click here

Projects that qualify for Administrative Review (Exempt) or Subcommittee Review (Expedited) do not need to wait for a convened IRB meeting although the Board ultimately receives all applications and may review any or all of them. Generally the approval process takes about a week for Exempt protocols and two to four weeks for Expedited protocols.  Bear in mind that the IRB makes the final determination of the review category that a project requires.

Other projects requiring full IRB review should be submitted to the ORC by the researcher as soon as possible, but no less than ten days before the next scheduled IRB meeting date. IRB meetings are generally held on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month except during holiday and university break periods.

Please note that copies of all documentation related to a project should be retained in a secure location for at least three years after its conclusion. Also, because a copy of the consent form used in any project must be given to the subjects involved, it is recommended that a line be included in the consent form for the subject to acknowledge receipt of a copy. Sample consent forms are also available on the ORC website.