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Institutional Review Board: Faculty Conducting Research
In principle, all research conducted by UP faculty and staff that involves human subjects is subject to oversight by the IRB. By this we mean that the IRB is charged with ensuring that all research involving human subjects is conducted in an ethical manner and in accordance with governmental regulations. In practice, however, some research activity conducted by faculty and staff may not require "direct" review and oversight by the IRB.
If you are supervising your student's research project, please see Faculty supervising student research page to review IRB policies specific to that activity.
Faculty and Staff research activities that do not require direct review by the IRB
Research involving human subjects need not be reviewed by the IRB if all three of the following conditions are satisfied:
- The project(s) involve minimal risk to subjects
- They do not involve vulnerable populations (e.g. prisoners, pregnant women, persons under age 18 years, persons with mental impairments, or other vulnerable groups)
- Results will not be distributed outside the classroom and/or institutional setting
If the results of the project will be published or otherwise distributed, in any form of media, the project must be reviewed by the IRB.
Faculty and Staff research performed to make a contribution to scientific knowledge must be reviewed by the IRB because the general intent is to disseminate the results of that research to a broad audience (e.g., a conference presentation or publication.)
SOTL - Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
For research activities where the intent is to evaluate pedagogy in the classroom, IRB review is required if more than minimal risk to subjects are anticipated, or if vulnerable populations are involved, or if there is an intention or expectation of disseminating the results of the research outside of the classroom or institutional setting. The key factors are the potential risks to subjects posed by the research activity itself, either in terms of 1) potential harm from participating in the study; 2) possible dissemination of confidential or private information; or 3) whether the subjects are either unable to give consent or are subject to significant coercion or pressure to participate.
Much research that is conducted by faculty or staff under the heading of institutional research does not require direct IRB review. In most cases, such research does not pose more than minimal risk to subjects, no vulnerable populations are involved, and there is no intention or expectation of disseminating the results of the research outside of the classroom or institutional setting. However, if any of these three conditions are not met, IRB review is required.
If the research requires review
The IRB makes every attempt to respond to request for review within 14 days of submission. However, during particularly busy periods additional time may be necessary. The IRB does not meet during the summer, so any proposal needing review should be submitted by the April deadline.
If a project raises particular issues that the IRB feels are not adequately addressed in the request for review submission, the researcher may be asked to submit additional material, clarify a point, or rewrite a section of the proposal. To reduce delay, these changes are usually solicited electronically. However, on rare occasions, the researcher may be asked to appear before the IRB to resolve matters of procedure, etc.
Please note: If faculty are using students as research assistants, faculty must describe the nature of the student's role and how the student has been oriented to the role.