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Northwest Missouri State University


Who Must Apply for IRB Approval (and Why)?

Activities that may not seem like research must get IRB approval if they involve gathering information from people. For example, asking students to write down personal experiences for a class assignment is research if their answers are later published or presented (even without names); sending questionnaires to community members about their perceptions of the services the University provides is research if the information is used for generalizable knowledge by publishing or presenting it; and observing the interactions of parents and their children at the park is research if the observations are systematically recorded and reported in scientific journals, at professional meetings or as aggregated data. Any of these examples would need to be reviewed.

Research conducted by faculty, students, staff, or others on the premises of any site governed by Northwest Missouri State University, as well as research conducted elsewhere (including mailed questionnaires) by any representative of Northwest Missouri State University in connection with his/her institutional responsibilities require IRB approval before the investigation can be conducted. Northwest Missouri State University students enrolled in graduate programs need IRB approval for thesis projects.

Classroom curriculum projects, workshop evaluations, and administrative review projects need not be reviewed by the IRB if they are not research, if results will not be distributed outside the classroom or if they are used solely to evaluate or review a program in order to build a better program. However, if faculty, graduate students, or undergraduate students are actively gathering information from classrooms and wish to publish or otherwise distribute the results, the project must be reviewed. If in doubt, it is wise to have the project reviewed.

Noncompliance with Northwest Missouri State University IRB guidelines is a violation of Northwest Missouri State University multiple project assurance, federal wide assurance, and the federal regulations for the protection of human subjects.

Note: Research projects in which participants have been contacted or data has been collected before IRB approval is complete cannot be considered for approval.

Information to develop this site has been gathered and adapted from the University of Kansas, the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, and the University of Wisconsin at Madison.