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Institutional Review Board


Download an application for Approval of Research Involving Human Participants.  If you are requesting modifications to an already approved project, use application for modifications.

The Simpson College Institutional Review Board (IRB) was established in September, 2002. The board’s mission is to ensure that research involving human participants at Simpson College is conducted in an ethical manner that minimizes risks to participants. Simpson College requires research projects covered by this policy to be reviewed by the IRB before the research begins. Proposals may be approved, rejected or, in rare cases, exempted from further action by the IRB. Projects are approved for a period of up to one year. Annual reports are required for projects lasting longer than one year. The IRB is expected to act on proposals in a timely manner. If concerns are raised during a review, the IRB will provide guidance to the investigator so the proposal can be revised and approved.

The following research activities require IRB review:

1) Research utilizing human participants and conducted with the intent or expectation of presenting or publishing the results

2) Research utilizing human participants that is conducted by undergraduate or graduate students

3) Data collected outside of the classroom.

Not all research is covered by the IRB policy. The following research activities do not require IRB approval:

1) Research that does not utilize human participants

2) Research a Simpson College instructor might conduct within his or her own classes to evaluate the effectiveness of various learning tools or methods of instruction

3) Research conducted as an educational activity during a regularly scheduled class and directly supervised by a Simpson College instructor.

4) Journalistic reporting

The Simpson College IRB is composed of five members to be elected by the faculty. Additional members may be added if the board is acting on a proposal that will be submitted for federal funding. Federal guidelines require at least one member from outside the college and one member from a non-science discipline.

The board utilizes a review plan that is consistent with federal guidelines for research involving human participants, Title 45, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 46. These guidelines permit the initial screening and classification proposals into two categories based on the level of risk to the potential participants.

Category 1: Studies in Category 1 are judged to provide no more than a minimal risk to the participants and are referred for an expedited review. The proposed study will be reviewed by a designated board member and returned to the board chair with a recommendation. If the evaluator recommends approval, the chair will send an approval letter to the investigator. In the unlikely event the evaluator does not recommend approval, the proposal will be submitted for a full review. Estimated turnaround time 1 week.

Category 2: Studies in Category 2 are judged to be of more than minimal risk to participants or involve special populations such as minors. Copies of the proposal will be distributed to all board members and the proposal will be discussed at a meeting of the full board. Investigators will be invited to attend the meeting to answer questions about their study. Following the meeting, the board chair will inform the investigator in writing of the board’s decision. Estimated turnaround time is 2 weeks.

Committees and Members

Form updated 1/7/2019