Human Subjects Review/IRB

Communication Department Human Subjects Review Chair, 2011-12: Jarice Hanson

Institutional Review Board procedures

The most frequently asked questions are answered below. Learn more at the Research and Engagement website or e-mail the Human Subjects Review Chair at geddes@comm.umass.edu.

What needs to be reviewed?
Where do I get training?
Who reviews my human subjects materials?
What forms do I need?
When will I receive approval?

What needs to be reviewed?

All research that involves interacting with humans or interfering with their activities needs to undergo review. Research by undergraduates as part of a class generally does not need to be reviewed unless it involves “high risk.” For details, see the IRB guidelines.

Where do I get training?

Applicants are required to complete the Institutional Training Requirement for the Protection of Human Subjects in Research. This free one-time, two-hour online training is offered by CITI, the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative. Register at the CITI site.

Who reviews my human subjects materials?

The Departmental Human Subjects Review Committee reviews the following:

  • Faculty research not funded by a grant
  • Graduate student research not funded by a grant—whether part of a course or a dissertation or thesis project
  • Undergraduate Honors theses or class projects with High Risk

The University Institutional Review Board reviews the following:

  • Research done by faculty members that is grant-funded
  • Research done by graduate students that is grant-funded
  • Any research by faculty and graduate students that is High Risk must also get University IRB approval
  • IRB approval takes 4 to 6 weeks—please plan accordingly

What forms do I need?

Submit the following four forms to the Human Subjects Review Chair. Forms available at http://www.umass.edu/research/eprotocol-electronic-protocol-submission-human-subjects-research

  • Human Subjects/IRB Registration Form
  • CITI Completion Report
  • Form 441. Here, you will detail the characteristics of the population you are studying, the risks and benefits of their participation in the research, the necessity of the research, how you will protect their identities, and your projected short- and long-term uses of the data.
  • Human Subjects Consent Form. A highly detailed informed consent form, complete with elements required by the university.

When will I receive approval?

Within two weeks, the department-level committee will send you a request for revisions or acknowledgment of approval via the Registration Form for Unsponsored Human Subjects Research.