Guidelines to Determine if Your Course Project Requires IRB Approval
Federal Regulations governing the protection of human research participants defines research as:
§46.102(d) Research means a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge.
Student projects presented solely to members of the official class roster are not considered to be "designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge" and are not subject to federal regulations 45 CFR 46.
Student projects presented to anyone who is not on the official class roster are considered to be designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge and require IRB approval before any participants may be recruited. Presentations outside the class roster include, but are not limited to, poster or oral presentations to people not enrolled in the class, public websites or electronic media, and publications.
Notes on Course Projects
Students who are conducting projects for courses are bound by the ethics of their discipline, rules and guidelines determined by their department, as well as all federal, state, and local laws. The course instructor is responsible for ensuring that students are knowledgeable and follow the appropriate ethics, rules, guidelines, and laws.
The IRB suggests that students conducting course projects that involve research-type activities take the appropriate CITI training for Social and Behavioral research, Biomedical research, or research involving data only.
There is no "retroactive IRB approval" for students who complete a course project and then decide they would like to present it to persons beyond their class. Once data collection for a course project has begun, IRB approval cannot be granted.
Please contact the IRB Chair for clarification.