Class assignments are usually not intended to or likely to lead to generalizable results, and, as such are not "research". Rather, they are practicum resources of teaching. The following guidelines will assist you in determining if IRB review is required for a particular class project:
1. To determine whether a student class assignment needs IRB review, consider the following. Student class assignments which:
I. Are research practica (usually in the form of course-related research projects and/or directed studies); and
II. Do not involve physically or psychologically invasive, intrusive, or stressful procedures; and
III. In the judgment of the class instructor/sponsor, do not have the potential for placing the subjects at more than minimal risk; and
IV. Do not involve special populations do not have to be submitted for IRB review. Special populations include persons unable to give legal consent, minors under 18, prisoners, the mentally disabled, pregnant women, fetuses, the economically/educationally disadvantaged, or subordinates under a student (such as employees under his/her supervision at a work site). Projects involving such subjects must be submitted to the IRB for review.
2. Faculty/class instructors are responsible for screening class research projects and making the initial determination as to whether the project may fall into a category requiring Committee review. If an instructor determines that a student research project requires review, the project must be submitted and approved prior to initiating the research. The student will be listed as the PI, and the faculty member/instructor will be listed as the Faculty Sponsor.
3. In the event Committee review is not needed for a particular classroom research project, the student researcher and the instructor/sponsor are not relieved of the obligation for ethical use of human subjects. The faculty sponsor should insure that ethical standards are applied and that informed consent is used when appropriate.
4. In instances where a class will be conducting group research projects, similar guidelines to those posted above apply. If the instructor believes that, under our guidelines, IRB approval is required, the instructor shall submit one application setting forth the parameters of the group research projects being conducted by the students. Individual forms are not to be filled out for each student researcher as long as the research falls within the parameters described in the class "umbrella" form. Any research not within the described parameters would require separate approval.
5. If there is any doubt as to whether the class project should be reviewed by the Committee, please contact the IRB Chair for assistance at firstname.lastname@example.org.