Institutional Review Board

All Offices & Services

Exempt Research

What is “Exempt from Board Review”?

Some research involving human subjects may be exempt from the regulations. All research that an investigator believes falls into the exempt category, must go to the IRB Chair for confirmation of the relevant review category via a Request for an Exemption Form.  It is not the duty of the researcher to determine if the research is exempt – a third party must make this determination. This form may be submitted to the IRB Administrator at any time, it does not have to meet the deadlines established for proposals requiring Full Board Review. The categories of exemptions are listed below. Please note that an exemption can be invoked only if all components of the research fit the category as described. You might find the following decision charts helpful. 

Exemption Categories:

1) Research conducted in established or commonly accepted educational settings

(2-3) Anonymous educational tests, surveys, interviews,  or public observation

(4) Research on existing public or anonymous data or specimens

(5) Federal demonstration projects

(6) Taste and food evaluation

A “research practicum” is a course of study that involves the supervised practical application of previously studied theories of research method. A number of departments offer courses that require students to interview or observe other people. The purpose of these courses is to train students and give them an opportunity to practice various research methods. Such projects do not require review by the Board.

In addition to “research practica”, as defined above, the following are examples of projects which may be exempt from Institutional Board Review:

  1. Data gathered for the purposes of fundraising
  2. Market research for the purposes of admissions recruiting
  3. Recruiting efforts for faculty or staff
  4. Statistical data collected for the management of institutional affairs, including surveys of students, prospective students, and alumni