Class projects involving human participants in research are required to undergo review by the NAU Institutional Review Board
(IRB). A project is considered research
if the findings will be:
- submitted for publication presented at
conferences or meetings
- presented at the Undergraduate Symposium or other research presentation venue
- posted on a website
- used for future research
- included with graduate school or employment
A class project that involves data collection activities for
the express purpose of writing a paper or report for the instructor or to share
with other students in the class is NOT research and does NOT need to be
submitted for IRB review.
IRB review of class projects ensures that:
- the rights and welfare of
human research participants are protected
- student research is conducted in an ethically and scientifically
- the research conforms to the university’s human
subject research requirements
Projects that include collecting data at the University
Union should comply with the University Union's policy.
Students are encouraged to submit their research protocols for IRB review on IRBNet, our online submission system. Even if the project is low-risk and likely to fall under the category of exempt, it should still be submitted on IRBNet for review by NAU IRB staff.
Both students and instructors
are required to complete the online CITI training prior to submitting an application to the NAU IRB.
Consent forms should be clear, succinct, and well-written. Formatted as a letter, consent forms should directly address the audience (prospective participants) by being worded with "you" instead of "participants" or other vague wording. Passive voice should be avoided.
Special and vulnerable populations
Research that targets special or vulnerable
populations may undergo additional review that can take several months to go through the review and approval process. Students and instructors should carefully consider time constraints when planning research that involves special or vulnerable populations or risk that is greater than minimal risk.
Special and vulnerable populations include:
- minors under age 18
- juvenile or adult prisoners
- pregnant women and their fetuses
- Native Americans living on reservations
- persons who are educationally or economically
- persons who are cognitively impaired
- persons who are undocumented
In all cases, instructors must:
- carefully review students' IRB applications to make sure the student has properly described the research plan (this is done through IRBNet, which the instructor should have access to)
- ensure that students' IRB applications include the appropriate
informed consent/assent forms, data collection instruments, letters of support, and any other additional documentation
- report any adverse events or unanticipated incidents to
- make sure that students submit amendments to the IRB for changes
or revisions to approved research
- make sure that students submit a continuing review application to the
IRB 30 days before the IRB approval date expires for research that must be extended beyond the one-year approval period