Avoiding Pitfalls

Informed Consent

Informed consent is one of the most important documents involved in your research study. This document tells people what to expect if they decide to participate in your research. For more information on why informed consent is so important, visit the Informed Consent page.

Please do not attempt to make your own informed consent form from scratch. The IRB provides templates and instructions to make this process easier on you:


Data Handling & Use

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 private and confidential. The following information gives guidance on how to maintain confidentiality throughout the research process:

Visit the Research Designs page for more study specific guidance.


Preparation & Responsiveness

The IRB reviews applications on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • The entire process generally takes 1-2 months

Prepare a thorough, well-thought-out application. If you include enough detail, approval will come easily.

  • Plan ahead, and start the process early
  • Do not wait until the last minute to seek IRB approval for your project

Respond to requests for revisions in a timely manner.

  • The sooner you submit corrections, the sooner the IRB can issue your approval

Incomplete Applications & Lack of Detail

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. 


Missing Documents

If you do not submit all of your supporting documents, or are missing signature pages, the IRB will not be able to approve your study until they are received. 

  • Include all supporting documents with your initial application email
  • Submit your documents as Word documents
  • Promptly submit any proof of permission (if applicable)

To ensure that you have submitted the necessary documents, use the IRB Application Checklist.