Submitting Studies and Projects For IRB Review

Individuals conducting research studies involving human participants should email the completed IRB Review Form and related documents at any time during the Fall and Spring semester to the IRB at The IRB will be assessing the protocol* to ensure that risks to subjects have been minimized and that the benefits of the research exceed the risks.

Individuals seeking approval of non-research activities that involve human participants (e.g., instructors assigning students projects that involve collecting data from human participants, faculty/staff conducting program assessments) should review the information listed on the "When is IRB Review Needed?" tab before providing the IRB the information needed to make a determination about the need for review.

Research Studies

In most cases, submissions of research-based projects should include the following documents (submitted as pdf, doc, or docx files only; no zipped files, please):

  • The IRB Review Form (download that form here). Detailed instructions for completing that form are listed on the Guidance Sheet: Completing the IRB Review Form page.
  • The consent form you will be using for your study.
  • For self-report studies (surveys, interviews), verbatim copies of all survey items and interview questions
  • Recruitment Information: If you plan to recruit subjects via email, Spiderbytes, SONA, and so on, verbatim copies of recruiting materials are required

Many protocols require adjustment and revision before they are approved by URIRB. In such cases the researcher must resubmit the protocol, addressing the conditions of approval stipulated in the IRB notice of action, prior to initiating the research. Typically the board will authorize the Chair to take expedited action on revisions. When the researcher receives a final approval from the IRB Chair, the project may begin.

Educational Projects

Projects assigned by instructors in their courses usually do not meet the federal standard of "research." However, that determination should be made by the IRB, so educationally focused projects require "limited review" by the IRB. To initiate that review instructors assigning educational projects involving collecting data from human subjects are asked to contact the IRB and provide relevant details so that the IRB can make a determination regarding the projects’ status as “teaching activity” or "scientific research." For more information, please see the guidance page Educational Projects.

Program Assessments

Many projects intiated by faculty, staff, and students at the University involving gathering information from people: surveys of student engagement, polls asking students to report their use of campus services, and assessments of the effectiveness of specific programs and policies are all examples. Such projects are usually "excluded" from IRB review because they do not meet the federal standard of "research," but that determination should be made by the IRB. For more information, please see the guidance page Excluded Projects.

Limits of IRB Approval

IRB determinations pertain only to the requirements of 45 CFR 46 regulating research with human participants, and therefore do not address other local, state, federal, or international requirements or restrictions, such as regulations pertaining to the use of data (e.g., the guidelines set forth by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Please note, if your IRB research protocol requires access to University of Richmond data (such as e-mail addresses for surveys or student demographic data, etc.), the University may not provide you with that information even if your protocol is approved by the IRB. We encourage you to contact the Office of Institutional Effectiveness to determine the feasibility of accessing institutional information prior to submitting your protocol to the IRB for approval.

* The term protocol is generally reserved for documents that describe the procedures used in a research project. The term proposal is more general, and includes grant applications, descriptions of one's research aims, and so on.