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Classroom Research/Student Research Projects

(Approved November 21, 1996; Revised August 29, 2006; Revised July 21, 2014)

The Institutional Review Board (IRB) for the Protection of Human Subjects provides flexibility in the level of review for classroom research/student research projects when all of the following conditions are met.

Student research projects that meet all of these conditions may be conducted under the supervision of the faculty member without submitting a protocol to the IRB. Projects that do not meet all of these conditions must be submitted to the IRB for review.

  1. The project must meet the definition of classroom research/student research. This is defined as a project that
    1. is a normal part of the students coursework
    2. is supervised by a faculty member
    3. has as its primary purpose the development of the student’s research skills
    4. does not present more than minimal risk to participants or to the student investigator
    5. does not include any persons as research subjects under the age of 18
    6. does not include any persons as research subjects who are classified as protected populations or sensitive subjects according to Federal regulations
    7. is not genuine research and will not result in a degree culminating product (e.g., thesis, dissertation), publication or some other form of public dissemination (e.g., presentation at conferences including the undergraduate/graduate scholars forum)
    8. does not involve sensitive, personal, or incriminating topics
    9. would be eligible for review at the Exempt or Expedited level
  2. Student research projects must meet all the criteria for an Exempt or Expedited Review as defined in the IRB Guidelines.  If the faculty member has concerns or doubts, he/she should consult with the chair of the IRB.  The faculty member or student researcher may also request a formal review by the IRB of any student research project prior to beginning the research project.
  3. Projects approved as "classroom research" are viewed as being outside of the federal definition for human subjects research. As such, these projects do not have formal IRB approval and thus may not be presented at local, state, national or international conferences, published, or used for thesis/dissertation projects. If a student believes they may wish to present or publish their work at a future point, the student must submit a regular IRB protocol and have it reviewed accordingly. Please note, we do not provide IRB approval for projects after the fact.
  4. Faculty teaching research methods and overseeing student research projects are expected to understand the philosophy, ethics, and practice of protecting human subjects in research; to adhere to these principles during the conduct and supervision of classroom research projects; and to teach these practices and principles to students. Faculty will be responsible for ensuring that all student research projects are conducted in accordance with federal regulations and principles regarding protection of human subjects in research.
  5. Faculty who want to supervise classroom research projects must complete the CITI  Computer-Based Training module located on the web; see IRB Training.
  6. Information about classroom research projects must be forwarded to the chair of the IRB, 113 Stright Hall, before any research is conducted. Information should include the professor’s name, the course name and number,  the names of all the students completing a classroom project, the titles of all research projects that will be conducted as classroom research, and a two-three sentence description of each project. Additionally, the faculty member should attach their CITI completion certificate.
  7. Educational programs and training sessions about the protection of human subjects in research are offered to faculty, staff and students.  Members of the IRB are available to provide advice and consultation to university researchers as questions arise.  Contact the IRB Secretary at (724) 357-7730 for additional information.
  • School of Graduate Studies and Research
  • Assistant Dean for Research
    Stright Hall, Room 113
    210 South Tenth Street
    Indiana, PA 15705-1081
  • Phone: 724-357-7730
  • Fax: 724-357-2715
  • Office Hours
  • Monday through Friday
  • 8:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
  • 1:00 p.m.–4:30 p.m.