Why Submit Proposals to the IRB?
The IRB at Spelman College exists for reasons both moral and practical. While no reputable researcher would ever intentionally violate the rights of other human beings, it is difficult to anticipate the full range of ethical issues that may arise in the course of a research project.
The IRB is a group of colleagues who are committed to helping ensure that proper safeguards are in place. But the IRB is also a government requirement: in order to earn a “Federal Assurance Number” entitling Spelman researchers to apply for certain government grants, the IRB must review all Spelman-affiliated research involving human research regardless of setting or funding source.
Thus, by submitting a proposal to the Spelman IRB, a researcher not only receives assistance in protecting the rights of research participants including, but not limited to, members of the Spelman community but also helps ensure the eligibility of Spelman College to compete for government grants.
Who Must Submit Proposals to the IRB?
All researchers, including students, intending to work with human subjects must submit an application to and receive authorization from the IRB prior to the start of research activities.
Defining Human Research
Human Subject Research includes, but is not limited to: classroom projects, field observation, oral histories, focus groups, structured or semi-structured interviews, surveys or questionnaires, research utilization of confidential administrative data (e.g. government data such as individual level welfare data or college data such as student grades), experiments requiring live human participants, and experiments utilizing human tissue. Adding human subjects to an existing research project also requires IRB approval (in accordance with 45 CFR §46.119).
All human subject studies are subject to IRB review regardless of the purpose, extent, context, or source of funding for the study. This includes class projects, experiments conducted within the class setting, and studies that do not receive any external funding. Some projects will be declared exempt from review, but such a determination must be made by the IRB, as noted below.
Researchers From Other Institutions
Researchers from other institutions wishing to conduct studies on students, faculty or staff at Spelman College must submit an application to the Spelman College IRB even if an IRB review was completed at their home institution (in accordance with Protection of Human Subjects, 45 CFR §46.114). Such researchers must submit an Unaffiliated Investigator Agreement Form with the application for IRB review and obtain a Spelman College research sponsor (faculty or staff), who will share responsibility for the conduct of research on campus.
In addition, the outside investigator must submit proof of approval (or conditional approval) from the IRB of that researcher’s home institution (see Investigators Unaffiliated with Spelman College below).
The Spelman College IRB requires electronic submissions.
Submit a New Proposal | IRB Unaffiliated Investigator Form