- What does the IRB do?
The goal of the Institutional Review Board, or IRB, is to protect the rights of research participants or human subjects.
The IRB also works to educate and inform researchers on their responsibilities regarding human subjects research.
- What is human subjects research?
What is research?
The IRB defines research as “a systematic investigation, including research development, testing, and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge.” And human subjects research as any research that involves living humans about whom an investigator obtains information through intervention or interaction or obtains identifiable private information.
What is a human subject?
A human subject is a living individual about whom an investigator obtains data. This may be in the form of information or biospecimens. The investigator may obtain this data through intervention or interaction with the individual.
If the investigator does not interact directly with the human subject, they may still be conducting human subject research. If an investigator conducts research involving identifiable private information or identifiable biospecimens, they are engaging in human subjects research.
However, sometimes review is required even when using de-identified data. Only the IRB can make the determination that a human subjects project doesn't require review.
Remember, if you're unsure, just ask!
- What is the difference between intervention and interaction?
Intervention includes the gathering of physical data through a procedure or action. These could be biospecimens such as saliva, urine, blood, tissues, or cells. Intervention also includes manipulation that affects the participant or their environment to gauge the participant's reaction.
Interaction includes communication or interpersonal contact between the researcher and participant, typically in the form of surveys or interviews. This can be done by phone, email, video conference, or online.
- What is identifiable private information?
What is private information?
Any information gathered in a context where an individual could reasonably expect not to be observed is considered private information. For example, a conversation that takes place in a participant's home is private, while the way a person behaves while riding the bus is not. Private information is shared with researchers for study purposes with the understanding that identifying characteristics will not be published.
What is meant by identifiable private information?
Private information is identifiable if any member of the research team can easily determine the participant's identity. Even if names aren’t used, other identifiable features may be included. These could be pieces of information that individually would not identify a participant, but when presented together make that subject’s identity easily discoverable. For example, including participants’ demographic information and the area where they live could make them identifiable.
Private information is also identifiable if the researcher knows or can find out the identity of the participant and can connect it with the data the subject provided.
Remember that even if data is de-identified, your project may still require IRB review.
- I’m just conducting a survey, do I need IRB approval?
Yes – all human subjects research needs to be approved by the IRB, even anonymous surveys.
Remember that only the IRB can make the formal determination that a project does not require review. So if you’re ever unsure, just ask!
There is a possibility you might receive a “not human subjects” determination – this just means that your project does not meet the criteria that require IRB approval.
- I'm just doing a class research project, do I need IRB approval?
Some class projects may include human subjects research and therefore require IRB review. Please contact the IRB before conducting any human subjects research. Click here for more information
- Does the IRB have a preferred platform for conducting surveys online?
The IRB requires all online surveys to be conducted through Qualtrics or SurveyMonkey.
The Office of Information Technology has a software guide for creating a survey through SurveyMonkey, which can be found here.
- Does the IRB have a preferred file hosting and sharing service?
If researchers need to share files with participants, the IRB requires that those files be shared through the researchers' SIU OneDrive account. All SIU students and faculty have access to an Microsoft OneDrive account through the university.
- I plan to conduct Human Subjects Research -- what do I do?
Submit an application! They can be found here.
Students should consult their faculty advisor on any research they wish to do and include them in communications with the IRB.
Once your application is complete email it to us at email@example.com.
Researchers should also take the required CITI training, Social and Behavioral Research - Basic/Refresher. Instructions on how to do so can be found here.
If you have any questions about the application process, don't hesitate to reach out.
- Participant Payment
If using grant or state funds to pay participants or purchase participant incentives, PIs should first consult with procurement and/or OSPA.