Research is defined as “a systematic investigation including research development, testing, and evaluation designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge.” A human subject is “a living individual about whom an investigator (whether professional or student) conducting research obtains (1) data through intervention or interaction with the individual, or (2) identifiable private information.” (section 46.101 - Definitions of CRF Title 45, Part 46, Department of Health and Human Services policy for Protection of Human Research Subjects).

Student Policy

All student research is subject to Illinois State’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) review following guidelines outlined in Illinois State’s Policy for the Protection of Human Research Subjects. Class projects (including independent study projects) require review by the IRB only if they are intended for generalization (e.g., publishing, presenting, or archiving), contain more than minimal risk encountered everyday, or involve protected class of citizens (e.g., mentally incapacitated).

Policy Qualified

  1. Faculty are responsible for determining whether a student research project has reached a threshold for review, and are not relieved of their responsibility to use human subjects in an ethical manner.
  2. All student research must have a faculty advisor as the principal investigator (PI).
  3. The department IRB representative will be responsible for informing faculty of the student research policy and will be available for interpretation of the policy.
  4. Class only projects that may be disseminated in the future must be reviewed (e.g., for a research symposiums). IRB review must occur prior to any data collection.
  5. Class projects designed to “practice” systematic investigation techniques need not be reviewed when such projects involve supervised training of new members of a profession. Examples include teacher trainees practicing evaluation, clinical interns practicing assessment or diagnosis, and student journalism reporters practicing interviewing, etc. These activities should still communicate applicable or reasonable elements of informed consent (e.g., institutional affiliation, purpose of investigation, risks, benefits, voluntary participation, permission to withdraw, etc.).
  6. A student engaged to work on a previously approved research project where a portion of the data will be used for a course assignment, independent study, honors project, etc., must have the student’s name submitted by the PI as a modification to the original proposal.
  7. Theses and dissertations are considered generalizable research and must be reviewed.