Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do I have to submit my research proposal to the IRB?
A: Only if your research meets the following criteria:
- You are utilizing human participants in your research AND
- Your data collection methods are systematic and methodical AND
- The goal of your research activities is to contribute to the generalizable scientific knowledge base of a discipline (e.g., you plan to publish your results in a scholarly journal or you plan to present your findings at a professional conference)
Q: Do some departments have their own review boards? What should I do with my proposal if I am in one of those departments?
A: Yes, the Psychology Department has its own review board. Rebecca Brooke Bays, from Psychology, is the liaison to Skidmore's IRB. For both departments, complete the Research Proposal Template and e-mail the completed template along with supporting documentation to Professor Bays in Psychology. She will then determine if the proposal needs IRB review. You will be notified if you must submit your proposal to the full IRB.
Q: I'm doing a class project. Does it have to be reviewed by the IRB?
A: Class or lab projects that are being carried out for teaching purposes do not have to be reviewed by the IRB. Whether or not the IRB reviews research for a class project, it is expected that any research conducted by students, faculty, or staff will uphold the same ethical treatment of research participants as projects that are reviewed by the IRB.
Q: Do projects that are presented at the Academic Festival have to be reviewed by the IRB?
A: Only if the findings of those projects meet the criteria addressed in the first question above. If you plan to publish your findings in a scholarly journal or present them to a professional conference, then your project should be reviewed by the IRB.
Q: How long does it take to get my project reviewed by the IRB?
A: Typically, it should take no longer than two weeks. The IRB meets every other week. You must submit your proposal at least 5 working days before the meeting in which you would like your proposal to be reviewed. See the meeting schedule and deadlines page for specific dates.
Q: How do I submit a proposal to the IRB?
A: Instructions for proposal submission are given on the IRB Submissions page.
Q: Once a proposal is submitted, what happens?
A: The proposal first goes to the IRB Chair who decides if the proposal is exempt from review (there is no risk associated with the research and the other committee members do not need to review it) or should be reviewed. If the Chair decides that the research needs to be reviewed, it will then be read by other members of the committee. Once feedback on the proposal has been obtained from the committee, a memo is prepared for the researcher that summarizes the feedback. The committee can decide that the research proposal is approved as is, needs minor modifications, requires significant changes, or cannot be approved because of significant risks that are posed to the participants. See page 9 in Skidmore College's IRB Policy and Procedures for more detailed information.
Q: What if I disagree with the feedback provided by the IRB on my research proposal?
A: If a researcher does not feel that the IRB's suggested changes for a research proposal are appropriate, the researcher is encouraged to write a memo to the IRB Chair explaining the issue. The IRB is here to work with and support Skidmore College researchers and is open to any relevant information concerning their feedback provided to researchers.