Office of Research



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Rowan University
Institutional Review Board
Frequently Asked Questions

1.  Who needs to submit an application to the Institutional Review Board?
2.  What does the Rowan University IRB consider to be research?
3.  When do I apply for IRB approval?
4.  How long should it take to get a response from the IRB?
5.  What if I need an answer more quickly?
6.  What kind of response should I get from the IRB?
7.  What is an exemption? Who can apply?
8.  Do I have to include the survey, questionnaire, or test that I plan to use?
9.  Do I need permission from my research participants?
10. Do I need permission from anyone else?
11. Do I have to complete the training in Human Participant Protections Education?
12. I am a student. Does my instructor need to sign anything?
13. Does the IRB form have to be typed?
14. Who can I contact for more information?

1. Who needs to submit an application to the Institutional Review Board?

All Rowan University faculty and staff are planning to conduct research with human subjects must submit an application for approval by the IRB.

Some (but not all) sudents who are planning to conduct research with human subjects must submit an application. Students conducting research related to their MASTER'S THESIS or DOCTORAL DISSERTATION must submit an application for IRB approval if their research involves the use of human subjects.

Student-conducted research that is conducted solely within the confines of the classroom or within a departmental research participant pool and:
     • is a general requirement of a course,
     • has the sole purpose of developing the student's research skills,
     • is not intended for presentation or publication outside the classroom, and
     • will be overseen by a faculty member;
may not be subject to IRB review. Check with your class instructor for guidance as to whether you must submit your research protocol for IRB review.

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2. What does the Rowan University IRB consider to be research?

The Rowan University IRB defines "research" as a systematic investigation designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge.

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3. When do I apply for IRB approval?

You must apply prior to beginning your research. You must have the permission of the Rowan University IRB before identifying research subjects, beginning intervention, or collecting data. Check submission schedule on the Research Website for the due dates for IRB submission.

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4. How long should it take to get a response from the IRB?

You should receive a response within two weeks after the scheduled IRB meeting.

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5. What if I need an answer more quickly?

Try to plan your research so you allow for the time it takes to receive an IRB approval. But, if you need a response before the usual approval dates, contact the Office of the Associate Provost for Research. We will try to expedite the review. However, the IRB reserves the right to hold a full review of the proposal and/or request revisions prior to approval.

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6. What kind of response should I expect from the IRB?

The IRB will give you one of three types of responses:
     • APPROVED with no revisions,
     • APPROVED pending revisions, or
     • NOT APPROVED (with explanation).

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7. What is an exemption? Who can apply?

Federal law allows the IRB to exempt some research from a full review. This saves time and effort. The IRB application form describes the exemptions. If you think your research should be exempted, indicate this in a cover letter explaining which exemption you think applies to your research. To determine whether your research might be granted an exemption, consider your answers to the following questions: 

a. Does your research involve deception of your subjects? Yes No

If you answered yes to a, your research cannot be exempted from IRB review.

b. Will your research be conducted in an educational setting and involve the evaluation or comparison of normal educational practices? Yes No

c. Does your research involve the use of educational tests, surveys or interviews or observations, with no possibility of identification of the subjects and no possibility that the subjects might be placed at risk of criminal or civil liability, or of damage to their financial standing, employability or reputation? Yes No

d. Are you surveying, testing, interviewing or observing public officials, and there is no identifying material of individual persons? Yes No

e. Does your research involve the collection or study of previously existing data, documents, records or specimens that are publicly available and/or cannot be linked to the individual contributors of the data? Yes No

f. Does your research involve study, evaluation or examination of public policies or procedures, and is your research subject to federal department or agency supervision? Yes No

g. Does your research involve food tasting of food without unsafe levels of additives? Yes No

If you answered yes to c-g, your research may be exempted. Please refer to more detailed explanations in the application itself or the Website of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Human Research Protection.

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8. Do I have to include the survey, questionnaire, or test I plan to use?

If you have developed your own research instrument or made modifications to a published instrument, you must submit it with your application. If you are using a published instrument, include the complete citation for that instrument (author, publisher, date of publication) and a brief description of the instrument with your application.

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9. Do I need permission from my research participants?

Yes. You may use the recommended consent form contained in the "Instructions for Completing the Human Research Review Application," or follow the guidelines presented in the "Instructions" to develop your own form.

If the only record linking the subject with your research would be the consent form, and the research presents no more than minimal risk of harm to subjects, you may not have to prepare a consent form. Instead you may state at the top of your research instrument or on an accompanying cover letter on department stationary:
     • a statement that all participation is voluntary,
     • a statement that you are conducting research and the reason for it (e.g.,
        master's thesis, publication, etc.),
     • purpose of the research-what you are investigating,
     • a statement that all responses will be kept anonymous and confidential,
     • a statement that participants need not respond to all questions,
     • if particpants are your own students, a statement that class standing will not
       be affected in any way based on participation, and
     • the name and telephone number of the Principal Investigator (PI) and faculty
       sponsor (if applicable).

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10. Do I need permission from anyone else?

If your research is with children or with any other group who may not be able to provide informed consent, you must get signed permission from a parent or legal guardian.

If you are conducting research in an institution other than Rowan University (e.g., a school, hospital, community agency), you must have signed permission from an administrator from that institution on the institution's letterhead.

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11. Do I have to complete the training in Human Participant Protections Education?

Yes. You must complete the training before the IRB can approve your application. Rowan University maintains a Federalwide Assurance (FWA) with the Office of Human Research Protection (OHRP), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. This Assurance includes a requirement for all research staff working with human participants to receive training in ethical guidelines and regulations.

Click here to complete the training program. You can work at your own pace. You do not have to complete the training in one session. You can return later and pick up where you left off. When you have successfully completed the training, you will be able to print out a certificate of completion. Attach it to your IRB application.

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12. I am a student. Does my instructor need to sign anything?

Yes. You need to complete the name of your instructor and contact information on the first page of the instruction form and your instructor needs to sign the assurance on the last page (as do you).

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13. Does the IRB Application form have to be typed?

Yes. You can complete the form online or copy the form to your computer and complete it offline. The IRB will not accept handwritten applications.

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14. Who can I contact for more information?

Check out the Compliance Website or contact the Office of the Associate Provost for Research (OAPR) if you have any questions regarding the IRB or the use and rights of human participants in research.

Gautam Pillay, Ph.D
Associate Provost for Research
Rowan University
856-256-5150
pillay@rowan.edu

Karen Heiser
Secretary to the Associate Provost
Rowan University
856-256-4167
heiser@rowan.edu

IRB Committee

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