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IRB Review

The University of Richmond IRB reviews research proposals in accordance with federal policies and the UR IRB Policy Guide

There are two types of review: full board review and expedited review.  Occasionally, the IRB Chair or the convened IRB will make a determination that a research activity is "not reviewable" research.

Full Board Review

Reviewable proposals that are not expeditable must be reviewed by the full IRB at a convened meeting.  See the IRB schedule for meeting dates.  Note that copies of completed proposals must be submitted to the IRB at least one week before the board meets.  This requirement ensures that IRB members have adequate time to review submitted proposals.  Downloadable instructions in the "Submitting Proposals" section of this website can be used as a guide for preparing a regular proposal for full IRB review.

Expedited Review

Research involving no more than minimal risk and meeting other categories of eligible research may be reviewed by an expedited procedure.  The expedited procedure typically involves review by the IRB Chair and/or another designated members of the IRB.  To be eligible for an expedited review, a proposal must be of minimal risk and generally fall into one of the forms of research defined by OHRP in "Category 7" of its guidance on expedited review.

The federal definition of "minimal risk" follows. "Minimal risk means that the probability and magnitude of harm or discomfort anticipated in the research are not greater in and of themselves than those ordinarily encountered in daily life or during the performance of routine physical or psychological examinations or tests." (From paragraph (i) of §46.102 Definitions.)

Language from "Category 7" of OHRP Guidance on expedited review follows.  
"(7) Research on individual or group characteristics or behavior (including, but not limited to, research on perception, cognition, motivation, identity, language, communication, cultural beliefs or practices, and social behavior) or research employing survey, interview, oral history, focus group, program evaluation, human factors evaluation, or quality assurance methodologies. (NOTE: Some research in this category may be exempt from the HHS regulations for the protection of human subjects. 45 CFR 46.101(b)(2) and (b)(3). This listing refers only to research that is not exempt.)"

"Not Reviewable" Research

At times, researchers will engage in activities that are determined to be "not reviewable research."  Guidance on research that is not reviewable can be found at Section 3.6 of the IRB Policy Guide

A person conducting a survey or collecting information that they believe is not reviewable research can receive a written determination on the matter from the IRB Chair by submitting in writing summary information on the topic.  The person should submit a detailed email to the IRB Chair explaining the project.  In some cases, the IRB may ask for the submission of additional information including an expedited research proposal.   Examples of research that is "not reviewable" may include the following: minimal risk surveys that collect no personally identifiable information (e.g. a food preference survey at the dining hall), research that uses information about people from already published sources, and surveys used by professors for the purpose of teaching survey design and development, provided that the surveys are entirely restricted to the classroom (e.g. both the researcher and the subject are in the same class and the information collected does not leave the classroom.)

Generally, investigators should not themselves make the determination as to whether or not a project constitutes "not reviewable" human subject research.  Such determinations should be made by the University of Richmond IRB.