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  1. I collect and analyze course evaluations to assess my teaching. Do I need IRB approval?

Course evaluations administered in the normal conduct of a course, without the intent to disseminate the results as part of a project on the scholarship of teaching and learning, do not constitute “research” because they are not intended to contribute to generalized knowledge. You do not need IRB approval.

  1. I plan to disseminate a report on effective teaching practice, using data on student performance and satisfaction from one of my courses. Do I need IRB approval?

Such a project constitutes “research” by the federal definition because it is intended to contribute to generalized knowledge. The project requires IRB approval, and informed consent from the student-participants.

  1. My students are collecting data from human subjects for a class project. Do I need IRB approval?

It depends on who the participants are. If participants come entirely from the course, you do not need IRB approval. If you intend to recruit students outside the course, IRB approval is required.

  1. I regularly collect assessment data from students for institutional research. These data are only for internal use. Do I need IRB approval? 

Such projects are intended to contribute to institutional improvement rather than generalized knowledge, and do not require IRB approval.

  1. I am a member of the athletic department who collects data from athletes for the NCAA. Do I need IRB approval?

Yes. These data are shared with the NCAA for the purposes for the purposes of contributing to generalized knowledge about athletes.

  1. I plan to collect data from participants off the Wabash campus. What are the approval guidelines for my project? 

First, complete a Wabash IRB application and obtain conditional approval. Then obtain written permission from an appropriate representative at the institution where you intend to recruit (in some cases, this may require submitting an additional IRB application at the institution). Forward this written permission to the Wabash IRB to obtain approval for your project.

  1. I am not a member of the Wabash community, but I would like to conduct research using Wabash participants. What procedures do I follow?

You will need a Wabash faculty member collaborator.  You and your collaborator should submit the appropriate IRB application and accompanying documentation to the interim chair of the Wabash IRB, Dr. Neil Schmitzer-Torbert (; telephone: 765-361-6076).

  1. I plan to collect data from my participants over the internet. What are the guidelines for web-based research?

Web-based research, as with other forms of research, can be conducted only after the project is approved by the IRB. The IRB will examine the proposal in light of the standards applied to non-web-based research, with extra emphasis placed on the issue of confidentiality. Researchers who propose web-based research should therefore carefully describe their procedures for maintaining data security, which at minimum will include the following: a) not collecting data via email, and b) employing demonstrably secure web sites for data collection.

Questions? Contact the Wabash IRB Chair Dr. Karen L. Gunther, Professor of Psychology
Telephone: 765/361-6286, Email: