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WNMU Institutional Review Board (IRB) Description & Aim

The Institutional Review Board serves the entire WNMU community in reviewing research projects regarding their ethics. We are here to encourage researchers and support the research process while protecting all research participants. Off-campus agencies and individuals who wish to conduct research at our WNMU sites are required to submit their projects to the IRB for review.

What Activities Require IRB Review?

   IRB review is required for research involving human participants. IRB review is necessary for investigations conducted at WNMU facilities by faculty, students, staff, or others associated with WNMU. Furthermore, IRB review is required for investigations conducted elsewhere by any representative of WNMU. Off-campus agencies and individuals who wish to conduct research at our WNMU sites are required to submit their projects to the IRB for review.

The guidelines adopted by WNMU define research as any systematic investigation designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge. Therefore, any investigation designed to generate results that could be published (e.g., in a journal, book, technical report) or presented at a conference is considered to be research. Research conducted with human participants for master’s or doctoral theses must receive IRB approval prior to initiation.

Typically, academic course-related research exercises do not meet the IRB’s definition of research, since they do not contribute to generalizable knowledge, and therefore these may not require review. However, in teaching research methods, instructors should be cognizant of relevant issues such as voluntary participation and confidentiality of information when designing activities involving human subjects. Please note: If an instructor anticipates possibly publishing or presenting results from classroom research exercises - research as defined above, he/she must file for IRB review prior to initiating the project. IRB approval cannot be granted retroactively.

Finally, if a research project involving human participants derives funding granted or channeled through any WNMU organizational unit, WNMU IRB approval is required.

 

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