Not all research studies must be reviewed by the Institutional Review Board (IRB). Below are guidelines for determining if your study may be automatically exempt from review by the IRB or may be petitionable for exemption of a full IRB review after an initial review by the IRB is conducted.
Automatic Exemption from Review by the IRB
Research studies that do not need to be submitted to the IRB for review:
- Case Studies
- Case Reports
- Small Case Series
- Retrospective Case Series and Chart Reviews
Petitionable Exemption from Review by the IRB
If your research study proposal falls into one of the categories below, your study may be eligible for exemption. However, you will first need to submit your full proposal with all required documents to the IRB along with the IRB Exemption Petition form so that the IRB may conduct an initial review. Please be sure to note that you are submitting the IRB Exemption and Expedited Review Petition form in the body of your email when submitting your documents to the IRB Liaison.
From U.S. Federal Code 45 CFR 46.101(b)(1)-(6):
“(1) Research conducted in established or commonly accepted educational settings, involving normal educational practices, such as (i) research on regular and special education instructional strategies, or (ii) research on the effectiveness of or the comparison among instructional techniques, curricula, or classroom management methods.
“(2) Research involving the use of educational tests (cognitive, diagnostic, aptitude, achievement), survey procedures, interview procedures or observation of public behavior, unless:
(i) information obtained is recorded in such a manner that human subjects can be identified, directly or through identifiers linked to the subjects; and (ii) any disclosure of the human subjects’ responses outside the research could reasonably place the subjects at risk of criminal or civil liability or be damaging to the subjects’ financial standing, employability, or reputation.
“(3) Research involving the use of educational tests (cognitive, diagnostic, aptitude, achievement), survey procedures, interview procedures, or observation of public behavior that is not exempt under paragraph (b)(2) of this section, if:
(i) the human subjects are elected or appointed public officials or candidates for public office; or (ii) federal statute(s) require(s) without exception that the confidentiality of the personally identifiable information will be maintained throughout the research and thereafter.
“(4) Research involving the collection or study of existing data, documents, records, pathological specimens, or diagnostic specimens, if these sources are publicly available or if the information is recorded by the investigator in such a manner that subjects cannot be identified, directly or through identifiers linked to the subjects.
“(5) Research and demonstration projects which are conducted by or subject to the approval of department or agency heads, and which are designed to study, evaluate, or otherwise examine:
(i) Public benefit or service programs; (ii) procedures for obtaining benefits or services under those programs; (iii) possible changes in or alternatives to those programs or procedures; or (iv) possible changes in methods or levels of payment for benefits or services under those programs.
“(6) Taste and food quality evaluation and consumer acceptance studies, (i) if wholesome foods without additives are consumed or (ii) if a food is consumed that contains a food ingredient at or below the level and for a use found to be safe, or agricultural chemical or environmental contaminant at or below the level found to be safe, by the Food and Drug Administration or approved by the Environmental Protection Agency or the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.”