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Institutional Review Board

The Institutional Review Board (IRB)

The Institutional Review Board (IRB) is charged with the responsibility of protecting the ethical rights and well-being of members of the university community (faculty, staff, or students) as well as members of the community who participate as subjects in human research. The IRB is also charged with the responsibility of developing the policies and procedures required to meet these needs.

The guidelines require all members of the ETBU community who plan to conduct human research to submit an application with supporting documentation to the IRB for approval before proceeding with the research. The IRB guidelines divide research into two major categories: 1) research which poses minimal risks to subjects and can have an "expedited review" and 2) research which requires a "full review" by the ETBU IRB.

Definition of Research

For purposes of the IRB, research is defined as a systematic investigation designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge, based on the Code of Federal Regulations Title 45, Part 46 Protection of Human Subjects (45 CFR 46.102)

  • Systematic investigation is the gathering and analysis of information.
  • Generalizable knowledge is determined by whether results are published, presented to the public, or developed for others to build upon. This includes journal articles, oral or poster presentation, theses, dissertations, and oral histories.
  • Some creative components will meet the definition of human subjects research, contact the IRB with your concerns.

Any activity that fails to meet either of these criteria is not considered research for the purposes of the IRB. This definition applies regardless of what a funding agency may call the activity (i.e., demonstration grant).

Expedited Review
  • An expedited review is typically sufficient if the proposal involves minimal risk to the human subjects involved
  • The proposal will be reviewed by the IRB chair and two IRB members, as designated by the chair.
Full Review

A review of research by the IRB is necessary when one or more of the following conditions exists:

  • If the proposal involves more than a minimal risk to the human subjects involved
  • If the procedure involves the use of overt deception or less than full disclosure of the procedures or risks involved
  • Where student populations are such that consent must be given by proxy (children, individuals who are incarcerated, individuals who are intellectually and developmentally impaired)

For either an expedited or a full review, faculty, staff and students must complete and submit the IRB application and receive approval from the IRB before collecting any data.

Exempt Research

The following categories are exempt from review:

  • When the purpose of the research is to investigate established educational strategies and techniques in an educational setting.
  • For research involving the use of educational tests, provided that the scores remain anonymous (e.g. are collected in a way that prevents researchers from linking specific scores to particular individuals).
  • For research involving psychological tests, survey or interview procedures, provided that the scores are anonymous and the research does not deal with sensitive issues which could cause harm or embarrassment to individual participants if revealed in public.
  • When research involves observation of public behavior, and individual subjects cannot be identified with specific behaviors.
  • When research involves the collection and analysis of existing data, available to the public or through private archives.
  • When research involves the recording of physiological data from competent adults with routine, noninvasive procedures (e.g. weighing, electrophysiological recording, checking blood pressure, measuring sensory acuity, etc.)
Research as a Class Requirement

Activities involving human subjects conducted for instructional purposes as a requirement for an ETBU graduate or undergraduate class usually do not fall within the definition of research and would not require IRB review.

However, exceptions do occur and if any of the following criteria are met, the project must be reviewed by the IRB:

  • The results will be generalizable
  • The project will be conducted with a special population (children, prisoners, individuals who are intellectually and developmentally impaired impaired)
  • The project will be conducted in a prison, nursing home, hospital or school
  • The project includes collection of sensitive information such as:
    • Sexual attitudes, preferences or practices
    • Alcohol or drug use or other illegal conduct
    • Depression/suicide
  • The project includes audio or videotaping
  • Participants will be directly identifiable

The IRB encourages all faculty who plan to include research with human subjects in their curriculum to contact the IRB office in order to verify review guidelines and ensure efficient review if necessary. Any questions regarding the need for review can be directed to the IRB Office.

IRB Committee Members

Committee Chair:
Dr. Laurie Smith, Professor of Sociology
Interim Dean, School of Natural and Social Sciences
Chair, Department of Behavioral Sciences
903.923.2090  |  lsmith@etbu.edu

Ms. Kristi Burns, Assistant Professor of Nursing
School of Nursing
903.923.2211  |  kburns@etbu.edu

Dr. Barry Evans, Professor of Business Administration
Dean, Fred Hale School of Business
903.923.2147  |  bevans@etbu.edu

Dr. Jenny Hoover, Assistant Professor of History
Department of History and Political Science
903.923.2087  |  jhoover@etbu.edu

Dr. Troy Ladine, Professor of Biology
Department of Biology and Chemistry
903.923.2249  |  tladine@etbu.edu

Dr. Doug Lockard, Professor of Music
Department of Music
903.923.2167  |  dlockard@etbu.edu

Dr. Jenny Mobley, Assistant Professor of Psychology
Department of Behavioral Sciences
903.923.2091  |  jmobley@etbu.edu

Dr. Lisa Seeley, Assistant Professor of Religion
School of Christian Studies
903.923.2175  |  lseeley@etbu.edu

Forms and Templates

Beginning a New Research Project

All IRB proposals must be submitted a minimum of 14 days before expected start of the research. Research involving vulnerable populations (children, elderly, pregnant women, persons with mental impairment, prisoners, etc) will require a full IRB review and may take longer than 14 days. IRB proposals submitted after April 15th will be reviewed the following academic year at the end of August.

Continuation of a Project