Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Are human participants the subject of the study or the unit of analysis?
Are the questions asking for an individual’s opinions, attitudes, or feelings?
If the answer is ‘no’ to either question, the IRB does not need to be formally involved. If the answer is ‘yes’ to both questions, see Types of Research.
- You are asking students if they need a particular type of technology, but you are not asking them for their opinions or feelings about their use or lack of technology.
- You have a project and you need to know the appropriate contact person from the organization to assist with your project. You ask the organization representative only for the contact name and email address. The unit of analysis is the organization.
- You are asking faculty members from various disciplines how writing is used in their courses, but you are not asking for their opinions, attitudes, or feelings. The unit of analysis is the use of writing across various disciplines and the faculty are providing the data, so the information is not directly about the faculty members/interviewees.
If you have any questions or you would like to confirm whether IRB involvement is required, please reach out to Christene Bain at email@example.com.
Please see Letter of Support on Types of Research.
No, a link to the online survey will not be sufficient. The IRB must have a document that contains the entire survey (the introduction and all the survey questions).
National surveys are almost never NR given the central, organizing body almost always publishes and uses Columbus State data to advance knowledge. In most cases these surveys are considered an Exempt protocol (see Types of Research).
A focus group can qualify as NR so long as the data is not identifiable and the subject matter is not "research," that is, used to support or refute generalized theories or advance the available knowledge base in an area. An example would be advisers doing an advising satisfaction focus group where the participants are merely asked about their experiences with advising. This could qualify as NR. Once the subject matter becomes related to generalizable knowledge, it would then become exempt, expedited, or full, depending on the sensitivity of the information being collected.
Yes. Focus groups or surveys whether they be for research or customer satisfaction, so long as they are using, or the research is conducted by, Columbus State faculty, staff or administrators, all must go through the IRB. This particular Columbus State policy may not be similar with other colleges or universities. Our policies and procedures state any research done BY or ON Columbus State faculty, staff, or administrators must be reviewed and approved or reviewed and acknowledged by the IRB (depending upon the type of research).
No, there are no set rules. However, federal regulations stipulate that the IRB must guard against compensation or appreciation payments that present undue influence that may compromise a participant’s ability to make a well-informed and voluntary decision to take part in the research study.
If this is used only as a way of getting to know your students, there would be no IRB involvement. In that case, none of the information can be used in any presentations or publications. If you would like to use the information outside of the classroom, it would require IRB involvement and some other protections for the participants, like an assurance of anonymity and voluntary participation.