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Application Process & Procedures

Prior to beginning any research that involves human participants, you must apply for and obtain IRB approval.

Please note that since the IRB must approve your proposed recruitment procedures as well as your proposed methods of minimizing risks, protecting participants’ confidentiality, ensuring their autonomy, and so on, this means that you must obtain IRB approval before you begin seeking participants for your study. You may not begin recruiting or conducting the research until you have obtained official written approval from the IRB.

Also note that it is the IRB that determines the type of review required for any proposed research with human participants. The researchers themselves cannot determine whether their study meets the criteria for exempt status.

The IRB Chair conducts initial reviews of applications on a rolling basis. Applications meeting the criteria for exemption or expedited review are delegated immediately to individual members of the IRB. Those requiring a full review must be reviewed and discussed by all IRB members as a group.

As needed, the full IRB meets on the second Monday of each month to review applications and other documentation. Applications to conduct research with human participants must be submitted at least two (2) weeks prior to each meeting in order to be considered in a timely manner.

In order to obtain IRB approval to conduct research with human participants, follow the procedures below:

  1. If you are a student, contact and secure a faculty advisor. If you are conducting research for a class, the course instructor will serve as your faculty advisor.
  2. All researchers involved in a proposed study must complete a set of Required IRB Training modules on the protection of human research participants.
  3. Once you have completed the training, fill out the Application for Research with Human Participants, which is available on the Forms & Documents
  4. Submit your completed application along with documentation of your completion of the training requirement and all of your research materials (e.g., recruitment materials, informed consent form, grant proposal, letters of cooperation, research instruments) to irb@viu.eduat least 2 weeks prior to the next IRB meeting.
  5. Wait for official written approval from the IRB before you begin any recruitment or data collection for your research. This is very important!
  6. Upon receiving a decision of approval from the IRB in writing, you may begin recruiting participants and conducting your research. (If you are a student, this will be under the supervision of your faculty advisor.)
  7. If your research protocol must be changed for any reason, you will need to submit a Change in Protocol Form.
  8. If any adverse events arise, you must submit an Adverse Events Form immediately upon discovering or encountering an adverse event.
  9. If your research will exceed 12 months in duration, you must submit an Annual Review Form prior to the end of the 11th month of your research.