Institutional Review Board
Classroom Guidelines for Human Subjects Protection
Approved October 2002
In most cases activities conducted as part of the regular classroom environment, of clinical practice and of program evaluation are exempt from IRB review. Practice is any intervention designed to enhance the well-being of a patient or client. Program evaluation consists of standard questionnaires or procedures designed to evaluate the effectiveness of standard, non-experimental programs for the purpose of administrative review and not to answer a research question. Research is defined as a systematic investigation involving activity to test hypotheses, permit conclusions to be drawn and thereby develop or contribute to generalized knowledge within an academic discipline. This is usually a part of participation in scholarly presentation and/or publication. If research involves human subjects it will require either full or expedited review by the IRB. For a classroom project to be exempt from IRB review all of the following must be true:
The project is a class requirement and the requirement is stated on the class syllabus.
The project only involves members of the class.
The project is performed within the confines of the lecture/laboratory room.
The project carries no/minimal risk.
If the answer to any of these question is no then a Class Research Assignment form should be completed by the student and provided to the course instructor. The course instructor is responsible for providing ethical supervision at this point. Issues that require submission and/or consultation with the IRB are noted on the form. Questions regarding classroom projects may be resolved on a case-by-case basis through consultation with the IRB and may or may not require formal review. The TAMU-T IRB would appreciate the classroom instructors giving their students information about IRB procedures. It may be helpful to hold a mock IRB proceeding as a part of the instructional design to enhance learning and awareness of protection of human subjects in research.
Source: Office of the Vice President for Research, TAMU