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: 2017–18 deadlines

Deadline For Meeting On
September 21, 2017 October 12, 2017
October 20, 2017 November 9, 2017
November 9, 2017 November 30, 2017
January 8, 2018 January 17, 2018
January 22, 2018 February 7, 2018
February 14, 2018  March 7, 2018
March 29, 2018 April 19, 2018
April 19, 2018 May 10, 2018
May 17, 2018 June 7, 2018

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

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

School of Theology
Contact a CAS representative

Community Advocate
Sandy Mortinson