Institutional Review Board

The purpose of the SPU Institutional Review Board (IRB) is to protect the rights, health, and privacy of individuals who participate in research conducted through the University. Protection of human participants is the primary goal of these policies.

The policies of the SPU IRB are also designed to protect University members who conduct research, as well as students who conduct research under their supervision. These policies apply to all research activities that involve human participants.

Definition of Research

The definition of “research” used by the SPU IRB comes from the Office of Human Research Protections (OHRP), the federal agency within the Department of Health and Human Services that oversees IRBs.

“Research” is defined as “a systematic investigation (i.e., the gathering and analysis of information) designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge.” It designates, “an activity designed to test an hypothesis, permit conclusions to be drawn, and thereby to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge (expressed, for example, in theories, principles, and statements of relationships). Research is usually described in a formal protocol that sets forth an objective and a set of procedures designed to reach that objective.”

Simply put, the IRB is responsible for reviewing and approving any proposed research with human participants that occurs outside of established or commonly accepted educational settings involving normal educational practices such as regular course evaluations or student assessment. OHRP refers to this as the “common rule” when ascertaining the need for IRB review.

How to Submit an IRB Application

Before completing your IRB application, please read the SPU IRB user’s guide. You may also need to document informed consent. You can find the template and checklist for informed consent below. If you are unsure whether you need to document informed consent form, please see the FAQ link below or check with your IRB member.

Submit a hard copy of the application with any documented protocol (such as the questionnaires or assessment instruments that you propose to use) to your school or department IRB member. Do not submit via email.

Who Must Submit an IRB Application

For any project outside of the common rule that meets all of the following criteria, an IRB application must be submitted for data-collection approval:

  1. Systematically collects data from multiple human participants, and ...
  2. Stores the data for analysis, and ... 
  3. Publicly presents or archives in printed/electronic form a summary of the results that will be available to others outside of normal classroom activities at SPU.

Before completing your IRB application, please read the SPU IRB user guidelines.

Full Review: 2014–15 Deadlines

Deadline For Meeting On
September 18, 2015 October 8, 2015
October 22, 2015 November 12, 2015
November 12, 2015 December 10, 2015
December 24, 2015 January 14, 2016
January 21, 2016 February 11, 2016
February 18, 2016 March 10, 2016
March 31, 2016 April 21, 2016
April 21, 2016 May 12, 2016
May 19, 2016 June 9, 2016

If you require expedited or exempt IRB review outside of these dates, contact your school’s or department’s IRB member, or the IRB chair.

Forms and Resources

Science Building

IRB Forms and Resources

To help your research project succeed, find the application form, IRB guidelines, policies, and more right here.

IRB Members

IRB Member Site

College of Arts and Sciences

Office of Student Life/Non-academic Research
John Glancy (

School of Business, Government, and Economics
Don Lee (

School of Education
Tom Alsbury (

School of Health Sciences
Dale Cannavan (

School of Psychology, Family, and Community
Beverly J. Wilson (

School of Theology
Contact a CAS representative

Community Advocate
Sara Maxwell