If you are new to Northern Illinois University and are still recruiting subjects or continuing to analyze identifiable research data from human subjects that was collected while you were at your previous institution, you will need to obtain IRB approval from NIU’s IRB before resuming work on your project.
If you are collaborating with other researchers on a single study conducted at multiple sites, and the principal or lead investigator for the project is not affiliated with Northern Illinois University, NIU may choose to designate the IRB of one of the other sites in the study as the IRB of record for the project. Although you would not then be required to complete the full IRB review process, you must contact the Office of Research Compliance (815-753-8588, firstname.lastname@example.org) so that the appropriate agreement can be drafted.
If your project meets the definition of “research with human subjects,” IRB review is required. This determination is actually made by asking two separate questions:
Your project requires IRB review if you answer “Yes” to both questions.
If you are unsure if your project requires IRB review, please complete the IRB screening form and submit it to the Office of Research Compliance (ORC). You may also submit the screening form if you wish to have a letter from the ORC verifying that IRB review is not required.
Research is defined as “a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge.” Research encompasses work that is conducted on or off campus, in person or online, and includes questionnaires, interviews, tests, observations, surveys, and other experimental methodologies, regardless of the content or routine nature of the topic and whether the work is a preliminary (such as pilot studies) or a fully developed study.
Here are some examples of projects that do NOT meet the definition of research because they do not contribute to generalizable knowledge:
*Please note that research conducted for a thesis or dissertation does contribute to generalizable knowledge, as the thesis or dissertation will be made available to other scholars.
Human Subject: a living individual about whom an investigator (whether professional or student) conducting research obtains:
1) data through intervention or interaction with the individual; OR
2) individually identifiable private information (information that is not publicly available).
Private information: includes 1) information about behavior that occurs in a context in which an individual can reasonably expect that no observation or recording is taking place, 2) information which has been provided for specific purposes by an individual and which the individual can reasonably expect will not be made public (for example, a medical record, g.p.a.), or 3) information provided specifically in response to data collection (for example, responses to a survey).