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Institutional Review Board (IRB)

If you plan to conduct research at Western New England University, approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) is required.

Application Form
(The application form is an editable PDF file accessible to Adobe Readers 6.0 and more recent versions. It may be downloaded, edited, saved for later printing or revision, and emailed to the the IRB Chair when completed.)

Office of Human Subjects Research, National Institutes of Health

APA Ethical Guidelines


Who is required to submit an application to the IRB?

Anyone on campus (including administrators, faculty, staff, students, etc.) who plans to do research involving human participants is required to submit a proposal.

What is the definition of research?

"Research means a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge." (Definition of Research, Office for Human Subjects Research, National Institutes of Health)

Do all projects require a formal review?

No, some projects qualify for an exempt or expedited review (refer to http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/); however, that determination is made by the IRB. The researcher may request an exempt or expedited review and state their reasons.

Do I need to use a specific form?

Yes. The Application Form is available here.

Can I submit the application by e-mail?

Yes, but this requires establishing and using an electronic signature for each investigator. 

Do I need to submit any hard copies?

If your proposal requires a review of the full committee, you will need to submit 10 hard copies. 

When can I begin my research?

As soon as you receive a signed approval form from the IRB, you may begin.

How long does the approval last?

One year from the date of approval.

If I want to renew, do I need to go through the entire process again?

If substantial changes have not been made to the original proposal, and no untoward results occurred in the original study, you may be able to go through an expedited review.

What if I have an entire class that is doing research?

First of all, make sure that what you are doing is research (see question #2 above -- "What is the definition of research?") and not an in-class exercise. If you are doing research, you may receive a faster review if you submit one application form as a template and then attach examples. Also, certain research methods (e.g. anonymous surveys) may qualify for an exempt review (see #3 --Do all projects require a formal review?).

If one of my students does a research project, am I responsible?

Yes, you are considered the responsible project investigator.

What if my proposal is not approved?

The IRB committee will provide you with feedback to modify your proposal to increase its chances of approval.

If I have any questions about the process, whom should I contact?

Please contact Institutional Review Board Chair Jessica Carlson at 413-796-2325 or jcarlson@wne.edu.