What to know about Institutional Review Boards

If you’re working on a research project and are unsure if you need to submit it to an IRB, there are a few key things to keep in mind. The first is that any study involving human participants must be reviewed by an IRB, regardless of the risk involved. Additionally, studies that collect data from humans through surveys or interviews must also be submitted for review, even if no risks are anticipated. Finally, any research project published or presented at a conference must also go through the IRB process. When in doubt, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and involve an IRB. Asking a supervisor or mentor for advice can also be helpful if you’re unsure whether your project requires review. Following these steps will help ensure that all ethical considerations are considered when conducting research.

You’ll need to create a detailed application to submit your research project for review. This should include information about the study design and objectives and any potential risks or benefits associated with the research. You’ll also need to provide informed consent forms for participants and other relevant research documents. Once your application is complete, it will be reviewed by an IRB committee which will provide feedback and advice on how to proceed.

If your application is approved, the IRB will issue an approval letter that outlines the procedures you must follow throughout the study. This may include monitoring participant safety or reporting any changes in the research protocol. It’s important to adhere to these guidelines as part of your research project to ensure that ethical considerations are considered.


A research project is exempt from an IRB when the study does not involve human participants or does not pose any risks to them. Examples of research projects that would be exempt from an IRB review include those that utilize only existing data, are purely observational, or use non-identifiable data. Furthermore, studies conducted solely for educational or instructional purposes may also be exempt from an IRB review.

You can do it!

The IRB process is designed to protect the rights and safety of research participants, and it’s important to take it seriously when conducting a study involving human subjects. While the IRB application can seem daunting at first, understanding the requirements beforehand will make the process much smoother

Conducting research responsibly is paramount and involving an IRB can help ensure that all ethical guidelines are followed. Knowing when to submit a research project for IRB review and what is required of the application process can help you create a successful and ethically sound research project.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your research is conducted ethically and respectfully.