The following pitfalls often result in delayed application processing. Review the below information to get ahead and avoid delays:
Using the most up-to-date materials will make the IRB process easier on you as well as the IRB office. The IRB continuously updates its application and templates to improve clarity and usability.
Please do not attempt to make your own informed consent form from scratch; use our templates instead!
The IRB provides templates and instructions to make this process easier on you, and to be sure that all of the federally-mandated information is included. Visit the Informed Consent page for more information.
Handling and protecting data is the most important aspect of performing any type of research.
Participants must be confident that you will take the necessary steps to ensure that their information is kept anonymous or private and confidential. This might involve the use of a coding system, numbering system, pseudonyms, or ensuring that survey software is set to "anonymous" data gathering.
The following page gives additional guidance on how to maintain confidentiality throughout the research process:
Know the difference between anonymity and confidentiality in the research context:
Anonymous: You, the researcher, will not know who said what, or who provided which response.
Confidential: You, the researcher, will know who participated, and who gave what response.
Consider the above definitions when you are responding to the questions on the application. If you are using both confidential and anonymous methods, check both boxes and explain your data safeguarding methods.
The IRB reviews applications on a first-come, first-served basis, so plan ahead when you are preparing to conduct research.
Submit a thorough, well-thought-out application. If you include enough detail, approval will come easily.
Respond to requests for revisions or clarification in a timely manner. Most submissions are turned around in two weeks or less (for each set of revisions). However, if you do not return revision requests to the IRB for several weeks, you will obviously be delayed in receiving approval.
Carefully complete the appropriate application, making sure to include enough detail without being wordy. If the IRB is unable to tell what you are doing, they will ask for clarification, which causes delays.
Determine the type of data you are collecting, and respond accordingly on the application. If you are using both non-archival and archival data, check both boxes on the application.
Non-Archival Data: This is data that is being collected for the first time (primary, "new" data).
Archival: This is data that has been previously collected for another purpose (secondary, "old" data).
Not submitting all of the required documents is the number one reason why approval is delayed. If you do not submit all of your supporting documents or are missing signature pages, the IRB will not be able to review your study until they are received. In these cases, submissions will be rejected with a "Not Ready for Review" email.
To ensure that you have submitted the necessary documents, use the IRB Application Checklist.
You may seek permission to conduct research or gather data from schools, businesses, churches, or other organizations prior to receiving IRB approval. However, do NOT begin recruiting your actual participants.
Some schools or organizations may require IRB approval prior to giving their permission. If this occurs, we will provide you with conditional approval once all requested revisions are received. You can then provide the conditional letter to the school or organization to obtain permission. Once the IRB receives documentation of permission, a complete approval letter will be provided to you.
We review research applications and supporting documents in Microsoft Word using the track changes and comments feature. Please submit your materials as separate Word documents to facilitate our review. DO NOT submit your entire thesis or dissertation proposal as a "supplemental document." We do not have the time to sort through your entire draft to find the specific documents we need. It is your responsibility to submit documents properly to ensure a timely review.
Exceptions to the Microsoft Word requirement include: