What Projects Require IRB Review?

Project review is generally required for:
1. SURVEY, INTERVIEW, FOCUS GROUP, & OBSERVATIONAL RESEARCH
Most survey, interview, focus group, and observational research involving human participants should be reviewed by the IRB.

2. EVALUATION RESEARCH
The IRB will review evaluation projects such as those which collect data on a new course, technique, or pilot study to assess the effectiveness of the method or material, especially if the results are likely to be presented or published. The IRB will not review standard course evaluations.

3. ORAL HISTORY
The IRB will review some oral history projects for risk of harm or loss of privacy to the participant. Projects must be considered as research resulting in generalizable knowledge. Single participant oral history projects do not fall under IRB jurisdiction because they are not generalizable.
Items of consideration during a review of oral history projects would include:
• Who is being interviewed (any members of a special population group?)
• The topic of the interview (anything likely to cause distress during the interview or in the event of a breach of privacy?)
• What will be done with the tapes from the interview (destroyed? made publicly available?)
• Is the subject fully informed of the content and intent of the project and the disposition of the tapes?
The IRB does not want to prevent research, but does want to ensure that research is conducted ethically with full informed consent of the subject as appropriate.
If you are conducting research on human participants through the study of already existing non-public data, documents, or records, the project must be reviewed by the IRB. If the secondary data is taken from a publicly available source (e.g., published census data or test scores; newspaper articles), you do not need to file with IRB.

4. RESEARCH ON EXISTING DATA
If you are conducting research on human participants through the study of already existing non-public data, documents, or records, the project must be reviewed by the IRB. If the secondary data is taken from a publicly available source (e.g., published census data or test scores; newspaper articles), you do not need to file with IRB.

5. THESIS & ESSAY RESEARCH
IRB approval is necessary for human participants research which will result in publication in a graduate or senior student essay or thesis. NOTE: the project cannot be started until IRB approval has been obtained.

6. STUDENT PROJECTS
Independent and internship research projects involving human participants to be conducted by graduate or undergraduate students are normally reviewed by the IRB. Approval must be obtained before the project can be initiated. If the student is working on an established project already approved by the host institution’s IRB (e.g., at the Cleveland Clinic), the student should submit a copy of the approval memo with the request for credit or with the thesis/essay.

7. CLASSROOM PROJECTS
In most cases, class projects involving human participants are not intended to contribute to generalizable knowledge and therefore are not covered under the federal regulations. However, IRB approval should be obtained for class research projects if (1) data will be collected from a human participant (e.g., opinions, behaviors, feelings, personal information), regardless of the sensitivity of the data, AND (2) the results of the classroom research project will contribute to generalizable knowledge (e.g., by publishing — including master’s theses; presenting outside the class; citing in another paper; poster presentations).