Class Projects

Research conducted solely for pedagogical purposes may not need IRB review, under the following conditions.

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  • the instructor's intention is to teach professional research methods such as interviewing, surveying, or experimental design
  • the data are gathered solely for the purposes of teaching how to analyze them
  • the results will remain in the classroom.

These data can be presented at the end of the semester within the confines of the institution--for instance, at Scholars Day/Scholars Night. However, if the results will be published (including on Digital Commons), presented at a larger conference off-campus, or generalized in some other way, it will be necessary to obtain IRB approval.

Use the following to see if your class project requires IRB review.

Questions Answers

1. The project fulfills the requirements outlined in the Exempt category guidelines.

If you answered "yes," stop here. The project does not require IRB review. If you answered "no," please continue.

  Yes       No

2. The project fulfills the requirement outlined in the Expedited category guidelines and is only being used as a teaching tool.

  Yes       No

3. The research subjects are at least 18 years old (e.g., not minors).

  Yes       No

4. The research presents minimal risk (physical, psychological, social, or financial).

  Yes       No

5. The research will not be submitted to or presented at a professional conference, published in a professional journal/magazine/ newsletter, or be posted on a website that can be publicly accessed, such as Digital Commons. (Note: Scholars Day is not considered a professional conference)

  Yes       No

6. The data collected in this research is being used only by a student or faculty member for this project and not being used in any faculty research study.

  Yes       No

7. As the faculty member overseeing student research, I have completed the CITI human subjects protections course and will review issues of confidentiality with students conducting research for classroom projects.

Please note: Instructors are encouraged to have students conducting research for class projects complete the CITI course.

  Yes       No


If you answered "yes" to ALL of the above statements, you or your students may complete research for a class project without IRB submission or approval. However, students are still required to follow all human subjects protection protocols. The faculty is ultimately responsible for ensuring students abide by these protocols. Click here for additional class project guidelines.

If you were not able to answer "yes" to all the statements, the project will likely need to be submitted to the IRB office.

If a class project evolves into a research project that the student/instructor wishes to publish or generalize, then the research will need to undergo IRB review. This should occur as soon as it is known that the data will be used for research. If this is not determined until after the research is completed, the investigator should submit a protocol to the IRB requesting permission to use existing data.

Please contact the IRB office with further questions.

Last Updated 9/18/18

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