Institutional Review Board

Students Studying

Institutional Review Board

The primary purpose of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) is to assure the safety, rights, welfare, and dignity of human subjects. The mission of the IRB is to determine whether research conducted by faculty, staff, employees, and students affiliated with Carroll College complies with applicable law, institutional policies, and standards of professional conduct and practice, while embracing the mission of Carroll College. Specifically, the IRB is given responsibility by Carroll College to review research proposals that involve the use of human subjects.

What Types of Projects Require IRB Approval?

If you are a student, faculty or staff member of Carroll College, doing research that involves collecting information or data about human subjects, or testing/measuring human participants in any way, you need to know the following:

  • You need to have Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval before you involve human subjects in your research.
  • If you do not have IRB approval for human-subjects research (unless it is exempt from IRB oversight), your research project will not be recognized by Carroll College and will not be accepted to fulfill academic requirements that require IRB approval.
  • The IRB will not review and give retrospective approval for research that has already been conducted.

Federal regulations and Carroll College policies require IRB approval for research and projects involving the gathering of information about living human subjects. These regulations and policies serve to protect the rights and welfare of human participants and apply to human subjects research conducted individually or collectively (in a class or in groups) by Carroll College faculty, staff, or students.

Independent student research projects in which human subjects are involved, either directly or through the use of their data, require IRB approval. Examples of such projects include research projects conducted by Carroll College honors students in conjunction with honors requirements; projects by students individually enrolled in an independent study or research practicum with a professor; and projects by students planning to present their findings at a conference or  Carroll's Student Undergraduate Research Festival (SURF).

In-class projects that involve human subjects may require IRB approval. Class-based research conducted with human subjects must be approved by the IRB if results from the research are presented outside of a classroom setting (for example:  SURF,  local, regional or national conferences) in any form, including poster presentations or talks.  Class projects that are conducted solely for educational purposes do not qualify as research, and therefore do not require IRB approval.

Projects not involving information about human subjects do not require IRB approval.

Faculty should consult the Document 7, IRB Guidelines for Student Projects, available on this website, to determine if proposed research requires IRB review and approval.

Frequently Asked Questions

I have already started or completed my research project. Can I still apply for IRB review?
No. IRB approval must be obtained prior to beginning a research project. Any research begun without IRB approval (for which IRB approval would be needed) will not be recognized or supported by Carroll College.

I am not sure if my research needs IRB approval. How do I find out?
Begin by carefully reviewing the information on this website. If you still have questions, contact the chair of the IRB to discuss your project. Know that if there is any question, the chair will tell you to apply to the IRB. This is the most conservative route as it can protect you as a PI by either getting you an exempt status or approval for your research.  Exempt status cannot be granted by the IRB without review of a complete application.

I already have IRB approval, but I want to change something about my research. What do I do?
Stop any data collection you may be doing. Fill out and submit a "Request to Modify" form available on this website. If you receive approval for your changes, you can resume your research, incorporating your modifications.  

How long does the IRB review take?
The length of the IRB review process depends upon many factors including the completeness and clarity of the application packet, the level of risks to participants, the workload of the IRB, and the responsiveness of PIs to requests from the IRB for more information. A typical review period might be from a few weeks to a few months. The IRB always recommends applying as early as possible. Beyond a commitment to initial feedback deadlines as detailed on the IRB web page, the IRB makes no guarantees about review timing.  

I am directing a student's research project which must be reviewed by the IRB.  Do I need to complete the Protecting Human Research Participants Training course on Moodle?  
Yes. The research application packet will only be complete if the faculty director has completed the course and the director's certificate is included in the review submission.

I am conducting a class project that might also be research. Do I need to apply to the IRB?   
It depends. See document 7, Guidance for Class Projects.  If you still have questions, contact the chair of the IRB. 

I anticipate that many of my students will be applying for IRB approval this semester. How can I help them prepare for that?  
The IRB is willing to give an overview of the review process to your class. Please contact the IRB chair to arrange a visit.

Carroll College IRB Members 2023-2024

  • Jenn Glowienka, IRB Administrator, Office of Academic Affairs
  • Gerald Schafer, IRB Chair, Health Sciences
  • _____________, Administrative Support, Office of Academic Affairs
  • Russ Bell, Retired biotechnology executive and researcher
  • Terence Kratz, Library
  • Stefanie Otto-Hitt, Biology
  • Sevda Raghib, Director of Staff Development, St. Peter's Health
  • Andrew Thomas, Business
  • Kayte Thomas, Social Work
  • Deanna Thompson, Nursing

Contact Information

For questions, please contact the IRB Chair, Gerald Schafer,  406.447.4405.