Outside Research

Research Conducted Outside of the United States

Research conducted outside of the United Sates by Ursinus faculty, students, or staff must be reviewed in accordance with Ursinus College IRB review procedures. Such research must also conform to the standards for research involving human subjects of the host country. Collaboration with colleagues at a local institution in the host country often provides a good method for ensuring compliance with host country law and human subject conventions in research.  
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Outside Investigators Wishing to Use Ursinus College Students, Faculty or Staff as Subjects OFF CAMPUS

Research involving Ursinus College students, faculty, or staff over the age of 18 who are recruited off campus and which takes place off campus should be reviewed by the institution sponsoring the research. If the investigator is not affiliated with an institution with an overseeing IRB and the research involves Ursinus as an institution, the research should be submitted to the Ursinus College IRB following the procedures outlined here.

Outside Research Conducted ON CAMPUS 

For research involving Ursinus College students, faculty, or staff  for research that takes place on the Ursinus College campus, the primary investigator from the home institution must send a copy of the proposal, interview schedules, consent forms, and copies of flyers or advertisements to the Ursinus IRB. This information packet must also include evidence that the research has been reviewed and approved by the investigator’s home institution.

Research Conducted at Off-Campus Sites with their Own Human Subjects Committees

If some portion of the research is conducted at another institution, that institution must also review and approve the research protocol. The Ursinus College IRB will normally request some evidence of review and agreement from the home institution. If the home institution does not have a Human Subjects Review Committee, a letter on institutional letterhead signed by an official of the home institution agreeing to permit access to the study population will be required.

Research in Foreign Countries

International studies often require additional safeguards to protect the rights and welfare of research participants. There may be cultural differences that should be considered. For example: local customs or laws that might influence how the research is carried out, and possible risks due to social or political conditions.

Investigators who will be conducting research internationally need to be prepared to gather and submit the following information for review:

  • Description of where the research will be conducted (including geographic location and specific performance site, where applicable). Note: In some areas, government-issued research visas are required.
  • Information about the local research context, including the current social, economic, and political conditions of the area, including a description of the investigator’s personal experience conducting research (or studying or residing) in the region
  • Any additional risks participants might face as a result of the population being studied and/or the local research context.
  • The language(s) in which consent will be sought from participants and the research will be conducted, as well as whether the investigator is fluent in this language or whether a translator will be required. If a translator will be used, it should be clear what limitations or risks, if any, this might present for participants, as well as how these potential problems will be overcome or minimized.
  • Names of potential contacts not affiliated with the research who can act as cultural consultants



When documents must be translated into a language other than English, the researcher should provide a copy of the document in English, a copy in the language to be used, and a letter from an unbiased individual with expertise in the language (e.g., a Ursinus College faculty member) indicating that the translated version is complete and contains the same information as the English version.


When subjects are younger than 18 years of age, researchers are required to get written parental permission. However, if local regulations are such that parental permission for research in a school setting would be inappropriate, the researcher must give the Board proof that this is inappropriate. For example, proof could be a letter saying that parental permission would be inappropriate from an authorized official in the country, or from a Ursinus College faculty member who is familiar with the culture.

Audio/video taping:

When researchers audio/video tape subjects, the Board requires a signed consent form. But in some cultures, subjects would be reluctant to sign an official form. This should be explained in the application, and the Board will consider alternative means of documenting consent such as obtaining verbal consent on the tape. Subjects must be informed of their rights, confidentiality, and all other aspects of consent.

** Created from Cornell University Forms and Federal Guidelines