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Institutional Review Board

Purpose and Function

An Institutional Review Board (IRB) is a unit whose role is to review proposed and ongoing human subjects research within an institution to ensure that the guidelines for protection of human research subjects are being followed as outlined in 45 CFR 46 by OHRP. At Northwest, this means that the purpose is to make sure that all human subjects research being conducted on campus, or by investigators affiliated with the university, meets these guidelines for ethical research. Application and supplementary documents submitted for IRB review, as well as the information in this document, allow the IRB to fulfill this obligation.

The Northwest IRB reviews human subjects research for its adherence to ethical guidelines only. Project approval by the Northwest IRB should not be interpreted as an endorsement of the research questions being investigated. In addition, research with non-human animals is beyond the scope of the IRB and should be reviewed by the Northwest Animal Welfare Committee.

For more information, view the IRB Purpose View Word Doc and the Northwest IRB Submission Guide View Word Doc.

COVID 19 Guidelines

Effective Fall 2020,

To promote the health and safety of investigators, researchers, and human subjects, the Northwest IRB will require in-person human subjects research to adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. Research should be conducted either individually or in groups where at least six feet of space can be maintained between all subjects and researchers.
  2. Researchers should ensure all materials (including tables) that subjects interact with are properly sanitized before and after each use.
  3. Researchers should wear face coverings and, in their recruitment materials, should require subjects to do the same.
  4. Researchers should ensure that hand sanitizer is available to subjects upon request and that additional face coverings are available for subjects who arrive to the study without one.
  5. Researchers should outline in their recruitment materials and in their informed consent statement the COVID-19 mitigation strategies mentioned in points 1-4 above as well as provide a link to Northwest’s general COVID-19 information and FAQs website.

In their IRB applications, investigators for in-person studies should make clear that the points above are incorporated into their research designs in some way. Proposed in-person projects that do not follow these guidelines will not be approved by the Northwest IRB.

In addition, the Northwest IRB makes the following recommendations to investigators conducting human subjects research during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic:

  1. If at all possible, investigators should shift their research designs from in-person to online data collection methods.
  2. If a preferred research design is not feasible given the requirements outlined above, contact the Northwest IRB through email ( Certain specific exceptions might be possible, but should be discussed with the IRB in detail to ensure that Northwest’s health and safety guidelines are being followed.

Contact Information

IRB Chair and Contact IRB Permanent Records Office Contact

Dr. Bradlee Gamblin
School of Health Science and Wellness
800 University Drive, CH 2380
Maryville, MO 64468

Tye Parsons
Graduate Office
800 University Drive, Administration Building 263
Maryville, MO 64468