The function of the IRB is to protect the safety, welfare, rights, and privacy of all participants in human subjects research that proceeds under the guidance of faculty, staff, and students on our campus. The purpose of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of Skidmore College is to assure that all human subject research associated with the College conform to our Federal Wide Assurance and related New York State regulations. Our Policy and Procedures derive from the ethical principles that were first articulated in the Belmont Report issued by the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research in 1979.
The first question a researcher should consider with respect to IRB review is whether the research project fits the definition of human subjects research. According to federal regulations, research is defined as a systematic investigation designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge (e.g., you plan to publish your results in a scholarly journal or you plan to present your findings at a professional conference). IRB review is required for projects that:
1. Meet the federal definition of research
Federal regulations define research as "a systematic investigation, including development, testing, and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge."
2. Involve human subjects
Federal regulations define human subjects as "a living individual about whom an investigator (whether professional or student) conducting research: (i) Obtains data information or biospecimens through intervention or interaction with the individual, and uses, studies, or analyzes the information or biospecimens; or (ii) Obtains, uses, studies, analyzes, or generates identifiable private information or identifiable biospecimens."
Whether or not your project needs to be reviewed by the IRB, all Skidmore College faculty, staff, and students have the responsibility to protect the safety, welfare, rights, and privacy of all participants from or about whom a researcher may collect data.