Institutional Review Board (IRB)
The Western New England University Institutional Review Board (IRB) is responsible for reviewing all human subjects research conducted on campus (or by university researchers off-campus). The purpose of this board is to ensure the protection and ethical treatment of all participants taking part in university-related research.
The University has developed a distributed IRB structure in an effort to expedite this process. While higher risk studies are still reviewed by the full board, minimal risk studies can be submitted to the appropriate intake representative (see below). These board members will conduct all exempt and expedited reviews (with the exception of research conducted by investigators not affiliated with the University, which are handled by the Chair). Submissions for full board review must be received at least TEN DAYS prior to the scheduled meeting date (see below). University intake representatives will forward any studies requiring full board review to the Chair for further communication. All other applications can be submitted for review at any time. Applications will be reviewed as promptly as possible, in the order in which they were received.
Intake Representatives during the academic year are as follows:
College of Arts & Sciences:
Dr. Laura Hansen, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, email@example.com
College of Business:
Dr. William Bosworth, Professor of Finance,firstname.lastname@example.org
College of Engineering:
College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences:
Dr. Anthony Zimmermann, Clinical Professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice, email@example.com
Applied Behavior Analysis Programs:
Dr. Richard Graff, Assistant to the IRB Chair, Clinical Adjunct Faculty member for Applied Behavior Analysis programs, firstname.lastname@example.org
*Please note: during the summer months, all applications not originating within the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences or Applied Behavior Analysis programs should be directed to the Chair.
(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.)
Full Board Meeting Dates/Times for Academic Year 2018-2019
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 or scanning and sending a signed hard copy of the last page of the application along with the application file.
Do I need to submit any hard copies?
No hard copies need to be submitted. Please send everything electronically to the appropriate intake representative via email with ancillary materials attached.
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 email@example.com.
To whom should I submit my proposal?
Please submit your application to the appropriate IRB intake representative. If your application requires a full board review, this representative will forward your information to the Chair for further communication.
When do full board IRB meetings take place?
The board meets at the end of each month during the fall and spring semesters. Full board meetings are not scheduled during the summer months. Meeting dates/times are updated as the information becomes available and are posted on the main IRB webpage.
How long does the approval process take?
The length of review will vary depending on number of factors, including the complexity of the study and required revisions, as well as the current queue of studies under review. Our representatives will get to your study as soon as possible.
What are the different types of review?
Full board review
What is the difference between anonymous and confidential data?
With only one method of data collection, a study cannot be both anonymous and confidential. If data are anonymous, it means that no identifying information about participants is obtained (i.e., the researcher cannot tell who a participant is). Keep in mind that too many demographic questions can impact anonymity. With confidential data, the researcher can identify the participants, but has procedures in place to secure this information.
Do I need to submit an IRB application if I’m conducting research off site or in collaboration with another researcher at a different institution?
Yes, a separate application is necessary even if you (or your collaborator) has obtained approval at a different institution. The approval process may be faster in this case, depending on the nature of the research. It is important for our IRB to be aware of all ongoing university-related research.
What happens after I submit my application?
After your materials have been submitted, the intake representative will do one of the following: approve your research, request for modifications, or forward your application to the Chair for full board review. Full board review can result in project approval, modification, or rejection of the research.
My study is undergoing a full board review. Do I need to attend?
Although you are not required to attend, it is usually very beneficial to do so as it will greatly expedite the process of clarifying any questions that board members might have. The Chair will discuss this with you after your application is received, and may send you some questions to answer in advance of the meeting.
What if something goes wrong?
The primary investigator is responsible for immediately reporting any unanticipated problems or adverse effects of the research to the IRB Chair.