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Institutional Review Board at Aquinas College

Does my Research Need Institutional Review

Information on this page should help you determine if your research requires institutional review. Additional guidance is available from any member of the Institutional Review Board or, for students, from the faculty member supervising your research.
The Code of Federal Regulations Title 45, Part 46: Protection of Human Subjects defines research as "a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge." Activities requiring IRB approval include research that involves human subjects AND will be presented or published outside of Aquinas College, or made available to the public. 
Research That Involves Human Subjects
Research that involves human subjects means that information is collected from an individual through a variety of means, including face-to-face interaction (e.g. interviews, experiments, focus groups, participant observation); a survey (including online surveys); or information that identifies an individual that may be collected in a way that involves no interaction with the individual (e.g. information from medical records, employment records, test scores, school assignments).
Research Activities That Will be Presented Beyond the Educational Setting
Research is considered presented beyond the educational setting when it is presented at a professional meeting or poster session; included in a professional publication (print or on-line); shared with representatives of a community or other off-campus organization; or used in funding proposals or similar documents.
Activities That Do Not Require IRB Approval
If your activities do not require IRB review, it is considered exempt.  At Aquinas College, the determination of exempt does not need to be provided by the IRB.  Faculty, staff, or faculty advisors to student research can make this determination.  An IRB member should be consulted if you are unsure whether or not your research is exempt from IRB review.
Activities that do not require IRB approval include:
• Research involving evaluation of normal education practices.  This includes regular College or faculty evaluations of teaching strategies and course content, including those used for assessment purposes.
• Research utilizing existing data that is either publicly available or cannot be linked, either directly or through identifiers, to individual subjects.
• Activities undertaken for educational purposes that will not be presented or published, defined in the federal regulation as “Research conducted in established or commonly accepted educational settings, involving normal educational practices.”
IMPORTANT NOTE: If your research is exempt from review only because it is undertaken for educational purposes without intent to present of publish, the investigator CANNOT later apply for IRB approval if they decide they would like to use the data for such purposes.  If there is any possibility that you may use data you collect in research involving human subjects for a conference presentation or scholarly publication, we strongly suggest that you obtain IRB approval before data collection begins.