Yes. Centre College’s Institutional Review Board is required to provide oversite to all studies that gather information from human subjects. The level of risk inherent to your study will determine how much information is needed and the amount of continued oversight that is required for your study. Researchers are urged to discuss their projects with a faculty advisor or member of the IRB before collecting any data.
Human subject research involves the collection of data from or about living human beings. Any scholarly discipline may involve human subject research. Sociological, anthropological, and psychological studies often involve human subjects; biological studies sometimes involve human subjects. Increasingly, research in the humanities, government, and economics involves human subjects. Checking with the Centre College IRB is the best way to ensure that the rights of research subjects are preserved and that your research is in compliance with the federal government’s Office for Human Research Protections guidelines.
Prior to beginning the research project, the Principal Investigator (PI) must submit a research plan to the IRB. The IRB reviews the research plan to make sure that the study does not pose any unnecessary risk to the test subjects, the researcher, or the college. The research plan should detail potential risks and how risks will be minimized. Once a research plan is approved, the IRB issues an approval document and the study may begin.
Risk can take many forms: physical, psychological, legal, economic, or social. Some research involves neither risks nor discomfort, but rather violates a person’s expectations. Risks and violations of expected norms must be disclosed in the research plan. In many “low-risk” studies, the greatest risk to human subjects may be a loss of confidentiality. Researchers must outline in their research plan how they will safeguard the subjects’ identity.
The following persons must receive approval from Centre’s IRB before beginning their human subject research:
• Anyone formally affiliated with Centre College (faculty, staff, students) who engages in scholarly research involving human subjects, either on or off campus.
• Researchers who are not affiliated with Centre College but who want to conduct research with human subjects on Centre’s campus, or want to collect data specifically from Centre College faculty, students, or staff.
• Anyone using data from human subjects that was collected at Centre College under the provisions of this document. For example, this includes graduates who intend to continue working with data that was originally collected as a student at Centre College.