Institutional Review Board (IRB)

The purpose of the IRB is to review research conducted with human participants to ensure that physical, legal, psychological, intellectual, social, and economic risks are minimized, informed consent is obtained, and the benefits and burdens of research are distributed fairly.

How do I obtain IRB review and approval?

If your project requires IRB review, complete the IRB Research Protocol Form and email it along with your consent form and, if needed, your debriefing form to the IRB Chair. Researchers must complete ethics training (see below) before the IRB can review your project. If you are a student researcher, you are encouraged to review your materials with your research supervisor before submitting them to the IRB.

Does my project require IRB review?

Most research meeting any of the following criteria requires IRB review and approval before any data collection begins.

  • Research using Centenary students, staff, or faculty as research participants
  • Research conducted by faculty or staff involving human participants
  • Research conducted by students involving human participants and intended for a public forum (e.g., publication or non-class presentation, such as the Student Research Forum)

Projects which extend past the original expiration date must be renewed by the IRB. Please complete the IRB Research Renewal Form and email it to the IRB Chair.

If your project has been approved by the IRB at another institution, you may not need approval from Centenary's IRB. Please contact the IRB Chair directly and be prepared to provide your approval documentation.

If you are uncertain if your project needs IRB review, please contact the IRB Chair.

Do faculty-directed in-class projects which collect data from human participants require IRB review?

No. However, faculty conducting such projects must complete ethics training (see below) before the project begins. In addition, the IRB is requesting that you complete the optional IRB Classroom Research Form and email it to the IRB Chair.

Who must complete IRB ethics training?

  • Faculty or staff conducting their own research with human participants and all students or paid research assistants collecting data for those projects
  • Students working on major student projects (e.g., independent studies, departmental honors projects) involving research with human participants
  • Faculty conducting class-based projects that will not be shared outside their own classroom (because they serve as the only ethical oversight for those projects)

If you have completed CITI training at another institution in the last five years, you may provide evidence of that training to satisfy this requirement.

How do I complete IRB ethics training?

You should complete the free on-line ethics training created by the National Institutes of Health, Office of Extramural Research. When complete, email a PDF of your certificate to the IRB Chair. (A PDF 'printer' program, like CutePDF, is ideal for this purpose.) This certificate must be received for all relevant researchers before the IRB proposal can be reviewed.

The training takes approximately three hours to complete and can be completed in multiple sittings, the program will remember what you have completed.

Can I require that students in my class participate in human subjects research?

Yes and no. It is a useful educational experience, particularly for students taking courses in the behavioral sciences, to participate in research to understand how it is done. That said, it can be considered coercive for faculty to require students to participate in projects, particularly if they are the faculty's own project. For that reason, the IRB recommends that such participation be tied either to extra credit or that required experiences have an alternative means to earn that credit. One such example is a short written assignment on a research article.

To avoid the appearance (or reality) of undue influence, faculty and staff should avoid recruiting their own students or employees for their projects. If this is unavoidable, it must be clear to participants that their participation is voluntary and they will receive no extra benefit for participation, or penalty for failure to participate.

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