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Human Subject Research: FAQ's and Definitions

Frequently asked questions

Does research conducted by DePauw students need IRB review? 

Yes, if the study involves human subjects.

Can a researcher obtain approval after the research has begun or has been completed?

No, the approval must come prior to the research being conducted and the sample being recruited.

Can data from a class project, not under the authority of the IRB, later be published or presented in public form?

No. However, if data is collected to assess a teaching method, under certain conditions this information may be presented as long as anonymity and confidentiality are assured.

If I am completing a project away from DePauw in another state or country, do I need DePauw IRB approval?

Yes, if the project meets the definition of human research, approval from the DePauw IRB is needed.

Are journalists required to go through the IRB process?

No, journalists are exempt because the typical scenario in reporting the information is immediate and not intended to be generalized.


Human Subject: a living individual about whom data is gathered (1) through intervention or interaction with an individual, or (2) identifiable private information.

Anonymity: the researcher does not know who the participants are. No information given by the subject can be associated with the subject.

Confidentiality: information is linked to the subject, but the information is not shared individually. It may be shared as part of a group report.

Benefit of Research to the Subject: the participant may gain new information or learn a skill as a result of participation, for example. This is inherent in the study itself.

Compensation: something of additional value the subject may earn such as a tangible gift or credit for a class.

Research: a systematic investigation designed to contribute to generalized knowledge.