IRB/Ethics Resource Links

San Diego State University and a number of federal agencies provide relevant information and ethics resources related to the standards set forth by the Institutional Review Board. This page provides a comprehensive list of links and resources to find more information and training about ethical research for human subjects at the university and federal levels. 

San Diego State University

There are two major SDSU websites with for information on engaging in research including survey research. One is the Division of Research Affairs website. The other is the Human Research Protection Program website; it is the website for the SDSU Institutional Review Board (IRB).

Division of Research Affairs

When creating a Qualrics survey, or conducting research using the software program, keep in mind that the research activities are subject to policies and procedures set forth by SDSU's Division of Research Affairs. On the Division's website, one one can find a variety of information related to any research involving human subjects. Below is a link to the division's website with more information about the Institutional Review Board.

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Research Integrity/Regulatory Compliance

One of the primary responsibility of the Division of Research Affairs is to ensure compliance with federal and institutional requirements for studies involving human research. Below are key links related to compliance. 

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Human Research Protection Program (IRB)

The Human Research Protection Program is where one can find information, forms, and answers on how to meet seek IRB for formal research involving human subjects. Below is a link to the IRB's website with more information.

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Other Institutional Review Boards

The IRBs at other institutions provide a wide range of resources. Below are links to some with the most useful information.
  • Northwestern University - This site addresses a variety of questions related to research on human subjects. Especially useful is the section on informed consent.
  • Virginia Tech University - This page addresses the issue of protecting confidentiality and anonymity.
  • Nova Southeastern University - The link to the IRB at Nova Southeastern University points to a variety of forms. These are not required for SDSU, but the checklists for consent and information on working with minors are valuable resources.
  • University of Pittsburgh - The IRB at University of Pittsburgh has a list to determine whether research is subject to an exempt review.
  • Michigan State University - The MSU Human Research Protection (HRP) Manual is available online. It provides explanation of legal requirements and guidelines in simple language. Of particular interest is the section on Section 2 on Ethics and Section 8 on Types of IRB Review.

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Federal Organizations

Survey data collection and any research that involves human subjects must adhere to federal regulations. The regulations define research as "a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge." Below are links to the key sources with information on the regulations related to survey and educational research.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)

The primary federal organization that oversees research involving human subjects is the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Below are the key locations for information from this office.

  • Office of Human Research Protections (OHRP)  - The home page for the Office of Human Research Protections with advice on ethical and regulatory issues in social-behavioral research.
  • 45 CFR 46 - Protection of Human Subjects - Here you will find the full regulations on studies involving human subjects.
  • OHRP Policy & Guidance - This page provides a basic definitions for research such as "protocols" and "informed consent." Select topic from left hand navigation.
  • HIPAA Privacy Rule - The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) sets the HIPAA Privacy Rule. This sets requirements for protecting the privacy for of subjects in medical research, but it also provides insights on privacy requirements for all research.
  • Human Subject Regulations Decision Charts - This page has a series of decision trees for determining whether a study requires an IRB review and what level of review is required.

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U.S. Department of Education (USDE)

The USDE provides a wide range of resources. Below are links to some with the most useful information about research policies and guidelines in education settings.

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Ethical Codes and Training

These are the key ethical codes that direct all research on human subjects. Additional resources provide specific information the ethics of working with human subjects in cyberspace and informed consent.

  • The Belmont Report - This report identifies the ethical principles and guidelines one must follow to protect human subjects. 
  • PRIM&R - While focused primarily on medical research, the organization Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research offers educational courses on ethics in research including social sciences.
  • Informed Consent - The University of Minnesota has an online tutorial focusing on informed consent and what the process of gaining consent entails.

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