Questions About Getting IRB Approval for Research?

Questions About Getting IRB Approval for Research?

The Institutional Review Boards (IRB) at Iowa follow federal regulations designed to protect human subjects in research. If you are conducting research (or a systematic investigation designed to contribute to a wider body of knowledge) that involves collecting data through interaction with a living human, you will need IRB approval. Surveys given on or off campus are covered under this definition. This applies to all students, staff and faculty at the University of Iowa.

Noncompliance can have serious consequences. In some cases, you may not be able to use or publish your research.

The following tips on getting IRB approval come from a seminar entitled “Regulations, Policies and Best Practices for Human Subjects Research” given by Kelly O’Berry on Friday, April 30, 2010 in the Adler Journalism Building.

To start, you will need to fill out a HawkIRB application, which can be found in the top left-hand corner of the Human Subjects Office’s website. Students will need a faculty advisor to sign a document for their application.

Before you start, you may want to check out the UI Investigator’s Guide, which answers questions about policies, best practices and how to go through the IRB process. The document is bookmarked and searchable so you won’t have to go through all 231 pages.

In addition, the Human Subjects Office offers several courses on how to fill out an IRB application and how to complete the review process. The course schedule is up on their website and they are in the process of developing a schedule for Summer 2010. Most SLIS students will go through IRB 02 (the Social and Behavioral Research board) for approval, but can also attend courses designed for biomedical and VA research (IRB 01 and 03), which explain additional requirements not necessary for social and behavioral research.

The Human Subjects Office invites emails and phone calls if you have questions. It is recommended that you plan ahead so that you won’t have to modify your application after it’s submitted. If the application answers all the questions fully, approval notification will also come much faster.

One example of something to think about ahead of time is how you will get consent from research participants for their involvement. All consent documents will need to have an official IRB approval stamp. It is also recommended that you apply well before you need approval to make sure the process goes smoothly.

Applicants will be given a HawkIRB account where they can track multiple applications. When the project is finished, you will also need to close or transfer your research through the HawkIRB system.