Institutional Review Board

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I put on my fliers to recruit participants?

The IRB needs to approve the exact language and images that will be used to recruit participants. Be sure to include the following information on your recruitment materials.

  1. Who are you recruiting for your study? For example, what demographic characteristic, age range, student groups, etc.?
  2. What will the participants be asked to do? For example, an online survey, interviews, or a laboratory experiment?
  3. How much time will participation require? Is there a certain time frame when the research will be conducted (e.g., one time in the fall, one in the spring)?
  4. Where will the study be conducted? (e.g., online, in a laboratory, etc.)
  5. Contact information. How should participants get in contact with you?
  6. Is there an incentive for participation? What is it?

What should be in my recruitment letters/electronic postings for recruitment?

The IRB needs to approve the exact language and images that will be used to recruit participants. Be sure to include the following information on your recruitment materials.

  1. Who are you recruiting for your study? For example, what demographic characteristic, age range, student groups, etc.?
  2. What will the participants be asked to do? For example, an online survey, interviews, or a laboratory experiment?
  3. How much time will participation require? Is there a certain time frame when the research will be conducted (e.g., one time in the fall, one in the spring)?
  4. Where will the study be conducted? (e.g., online, in a laboratory, etc.)
  5. Contact information. How should participants get in contact with you?
  6. Is there an incentive for participation? What is it?

How do I obtain informed consent?

Federal regulations require that consent materials are prepared in a manner that is easily understandable to participants. Please make sure that the reading level of your documents are appropriate for the sample you are recruiting. The Reed IRB has provided templates to aid you in preparing consent documents for review. However, we expect students to work closely with their faculty advisers to develop consent materials that are the most appropriate for the target samples and the particular project. Using these templates will not guarantee that the consent documents will meet the requirements for appropriate consent!

I am conducting an online survey. How do I obtain consent?

Please see the Participant Consent page for information on:

  • The basic elements that need to be included in any consent procedure
  • The parameters for implied consent 
  • Sample consent materials

My study requires the use of oral consent. Can I request this?

Please see the Participant Consent page for information on:

  • The basic elements that need to be included in any consent procedure and
  • The parameters for oral consent 
  • Sample consent materials

Which IRB submission form should I use?

Either form is acceptable. The two forms cover the same content, but they fit more naturally with different types of projects. In general,

  • If your proposal involves quantitative research, such as experiments, surveys, or structured interviews, use Form A: Quantitative Projects.
  • If your proposal involves qualitative research, such as narratives, unstructured individual in-depth interviews, or field work, use Form B: Qualitative Projects

Please work with your faculty adviser to determine which submission form would be most approprate for your particular project.

How do I highlight my revised documents?

During the revision process, you will be asked to highlight the changes made to your application. Highlighting your changes is required and will facilitate the review process.

After you make changes in your document, you can print it to a PDF and then highlight your changes in the Preview or Acrobat programs.
In Preview, go to: Tools/Show Inspector and click the highlight pen.

If you continue to have difficulties, please contact the CUS Helpdesk at x7525.

The checkboxes on my application do not work. How do I fix this?

If the checkboxes on the application are not working, try protecting your document.
In Word, go to: Tools/Protect Document.

If you continue to have difficulties, please contact the CUS Helpdesk at x7525.

Do I need to get my faculty adviser's approval?

Yes! You need to get your adviser's approval before submitting your application to the IRB administrator. This applies to the initial application and all subsequent revisions. A written signature is required for the initial application; email approval is sufficient for revised materials.

I am collecting data as part of a class project. Do I need to get approval from the IRB?

Class projects are not generally under the purview of the IRB. However, this depends on whether you plan on publishing, presenting publically, or disseminating the information obtained. Please contact the IRB Administrator (jmeyer@reed.edu) if you have questions. In the case that your project does not come under our purview, we recommend that you follow the procedures suggested by the IRB regarding issues of confidentiality and protection of your participants.

I plan on collecting data outside of the US. What forms do I need?

In applying for approval to conduct research in another country, you must justify your use of a non-US sample in your proposal as well as completing an Appendix B form. In addition, your work may require institutional review by another body, often a college or university, in the country where you plan to work. You must explain in your application materials how you will be meeting the requirements for review within the country of interest. Please see the International Compilation of Human Research Standards on the Reed College IRB website for further information on review requirements, listed by country, as provided by the US Department of Health and Human Services.

My project involves individuals under age 18. Are there special issues with the IRB review process?

Yes! Individuals under the age of 18 have special status. On your application form, please justify your use of minors in your research, document how you will be obtaining parental/legal guardian's consent and youth assent. You will also be required to submit an Appendix A with your application.

I am not a member of the Reed community. Can I conduct research at Reed?

Commonly, outside investigators who wish to conduct research with Reed community members will need to submit the first page of a Reed IRB application, provide a brief summary of their research, and a copy of their official letter of approval from another institutional review board for administrative review and approval.

Investigators without prior approval from another IRB will need to complete all necessary review procedures by the Reed College IRB.

What about online survey providers (e.g., SurveyMonkey, SurveyGizmo, MTurk, etc.)?

Investigators have turned to using third party survey providers to assist in collecting data. Please consider the following issues when using such tools.

  1. Can you disable IP address collection? This may provide individually identifiable data.
  2. Are you collecting sensitive data? Consider using encrypted data options.
  3. For some providers, be aware in programming that you may need to indicate whether you want your data in numeric form prior to data collection.
  4. For MTurk: The use of this mechanism requires special review by the IRB as this provider collects identifying information on participants and what surveys are completed. The IRB expects that investigators will NOT use the survey collector on MTurk, but may use MTurk for recruitment and provision of incentives with links to surveys managed elsewhere.