Institutional Review Board
Students who are learning about and using the research process in courses or projects should understand and appropriately use Institutional Review Board (IRB) policies and procedures. The function of the IRB is to safeguard the rights and welfare of individual research participants. The three levels of review—exempt, expedited, and full—are determined based on the amount of risk to human subjects involved in the activity.
According to the IRB guidelines, “activities within the scope of the IRB’s activities include research, development and related activities which would normally be construed as biological, behavioral, or psychological investigations involving human subjects.” The Fisher IRB committee has developed guidelines for faculty and students as they determine the need and extent of IRB review. Research is defined as an activity that involves data collection from human subjects, along with the analysis and reporting of that analysis.
The three levels of review are:
- Exempt Review (least risk): Relates to those situations in which data collection is an in-class activity, including those courses in which students are learning about the research process. This activity could be given exempt status, which involves a simple form and notification to the committee that this activity is taking place.
- Expedited Review (low risk): If the data collection activity is related to a course assignment, including master’s projects, and involves the participation of off-campus personnel, it is often deemed an expedited review as it involves a review of the instruments used, a consent form, and the completion of another form which records that this activity is being conducted under the auspices of St. John Fisher College. Expedited review does not require a full review by the entire committee and can be done quickly. Students can begin the implementation of data collection within a few weeks after submission of the research proposal.
- Full Review (risk to subjects/participants is inherent in the design): This level of research and data collection activity requires a presentation to the IRB by the student and a full committee review for the purpose of protecting human subjects participating in the activity.
Students work collaboratively with faculty to determine the need for IRB review. Copies of the IRB packets are available in the Office of Academic Affairs or the IRB website at http://www.sjfc.edu/academics/irb.