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Frequently Asked Questions

For Principal Investigators (PIs):

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 accepted as research.

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.

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. The IRB can make no guarantees about review timing.

For Faculty:

I am directing a student's research project which must be reviewed by the IRB.  Do I need to be certified?
Yes. The research applicaiton packet will only be complete when it also contains a copy of the faculty director's certification of human subject training. See Applying for IRB Review.

I am conducting a class project that might also be research. Do I need to apply to the IRB?
It depends. See Guidance for Class Projects (login required). 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 would be happy to come in and give an overview of the review process to your class. Please contact any IRB member or the IRB chair about arranging this visit.