Whether for a class, a pedagogical project, or any other activity that involves collecting information from living individuals or using their private records, all SU students, faculty, and staff researchers must consult with the IRB about submission requirements. Although you may not intend to publish or present your findings, the IRB must determine whether your project is exempt from further consideration or review because risk to potential participants may lie not in what you plan to do with your data but in how you recruit participants and collect data.
The SU IRB is committed to working with our researchers to protect the privacy, welfare, and personal information of all individuals from whom data may be collected by SU faculty, staff, and students. Research projects that are evaluated and then either approved or found to be exempt by the IRB will comply with Federal regulations and SU requirements.
Students may participate in human subjects research at SU in different ways, as described on our Student Researchers page. For Student PIs, read the Step-by-Step Guide and consult with your Faculty or Staff Adviser.
Even pilot studies need IRB approval if they involve human subject participants. IRB approval must be obtained for both a pilot and an expanded study because both involve research with human subjects.
Ceding Oversight to Another IRB: SU affiliates who collaborate with researchers at other institutions may request that the SU IRB cede oversight to another institution. Additionally, for some programs -- such as the College of Nursing -- where researchers must go through a separate IRB (e.g., the Swedish/Providence IRB, etc.), the IRB will consider ceding oversight even when the SU affiliate is the sole investigator. (When planning collaborative research with individuals at other institutions or if required to go through another IRB, always consult with the SU IRB early in the process.) No SU affiliate may engage in any aspect of a collaborative study until receiving written documentation from the SU IRB regarding ceding oversight. Please follow these instructions for requests to cede oversight.
At the earliest stages of planning your project, you should complete human subjects research training. (Exempt applications do not require human subjects research training; if you have questions regarding application type and review level, contact the IRB.)
Understanding foundational principles of human subjects research (e.g., informed consent, voluntary withdrawal, etc.), as well as potential risks in data collection and storage, will help you design a stronger research protocol.
All SU researchers and advisers must include human subjects completion certification with expedited and full-board submissions. You do not need to provide training certification with applications for exemption.
If you are collaborating with non-SU individuals who may assist with recruitment or data collection, traditional human subjects training for those individuals via computer or other devices may not be feasible. If you will have research partners or assistants for whom you believe traditional human subjects training may not be appropriate, consult the IRB to discuss options. For example, in one study involving homeless persons, certain individuals from that population helped with data collection, and the researchers gave these individuals basic oral instruction on informed consent, confidentiality, voluntary withdrawal, etc.
All timelines are approximate. Because most IRB reviewers are faculty members, review times may be slower during final exam weeks, holidays, and official University breaks. The IRB conducts no full-board reviews during the summer months. More details about Review Categories & Timelines.
Note: No research activities (including recruitment) may begin until you have received a written determination from the IRB.
Once your expedited or full board research project has been approved by the IRB, you are responsible for the following post-approval actions:
Project reclassification or conclusion
All forms are available on our Forms & Templates page.