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: 2016–17 deadlines

Deadline For Meeting On
September 22, 2016 October 13, 2016
October 21, 2016 November 10, 2016
November 17, 2016 December 8, 2016
December 14, 2016 January 11, 2017
January 11, 2017 February 1, 2017
February 8, 2017 March 1, 2017
March 30, 2017 April 13, 2017
April 20, 2017 May 11, 2017
May 18, 2017 June 8, 2017

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
Jacqui Smith-Bates (

School of Business, Government, and Economics
Randy Beavers (

School of Education
John Bond (

School of Health Sciences
Dale Cannavan (

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

School of Theology
Contact a CAS representative

Community Advocate
Sandy Mortinson