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.
Please contact your school's or department's IRB member for instructions on how to submit.
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:
- Systematically collects data from multiple human participants, and ...
- Stores the data for analysis, and ...
- 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.
If you require full review, contact your school’s or department’s IRB member, or the IRB chair.