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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato


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Do I have to submit an IRB proposal if I am just interviewing people?

The researcher’s intention determines if IRB approval is needed. If the interview is an oral history intended to stand alone or be archival, then no IRB approval is needed. If the interview is with the purpose of contrasting or comparing with the intention of generalizing the results to other people, and it is published/presented outside the classroom, it most likely will need IRB approval.

Can I ask the students in my class to participate in my research as participants?

Yes, but since you in a position of authority with respect to your students, you must assure IRB that no coercion or undue influence is exerted in recruitment. Please contact the IRB Coordinator to discuss ways to do the research you wish and still meet federal guidelines. e-mail or phnone:507-389-5102

What do I need to include in the consent and proposal if I am recording people?

Participants must be advised that participation will include recording. They need to be informed of the current and planned use of the materials including storage, transcription procedures, access by persons other than the researcher, and how and when the recordings will be destroyed.

What type of turnaround time should I expect for my proposal?

Allow 5-7 working days for Level I submissions; 10-13 working days for Level II submissions; and, Level III proposals will require full board approval the first Friday of each month and need to be submitted at least 5 working days prior to the IRB meeting.

I am planning to do my research with an outside agency; what type of support documentation do I need and when do I need it?

You will need a copy of the IRB approval from the other agency to submit with your application. If there is no IRB you need to provide a letter signed by an appropriate administrator/individual on agency letterhead.

What are vulnerable populations?

Participants who, because of state and federal regulations, must be provided extra protection. These participants include, but are not limited to, minors, prisoners, fetuses, pregnant women, elderly, and cognitively impaired.

I am a student researcher; why can’t I be the Principal Investigator (PI)?

Only faculty can serve as PIs. This provides students with the legal advisement and legal protection due them.

I am doing research on starting a new program at MSU. Do I need to submit this research for review?

No, probably not. Studies used to facilitate the management of the university (i.e., program assessment) solely do not need to be reviewed by the IRB.

What should I do if I have to change my procedures/consent after my proposal has been approved?

You will need to submit a Revision form to the IRB. The MSU IRB webpage at provides directions for making changes in previously approved proposals.

How do I know if I need to submit an IRB proposal?

If your research involves human participants, you will need to submit a proposal to
the IRB.

Can I start my research project while I wait for IRB approval?

No. Data collection may not begin until written approval is received from the IRB.

What do I do if I am working with another school and I already have IRB approval from them?

You will need to submit a copy of their IRB approval with your application.

I am a professor and my entire research class is administering the procedures. Do I have to list all 85 of them as Co-Investigators?

No, just note that the class is student Co-Investigators.

Can students sign and submit proposals?

Yes, but a faculty member must be the Principal Investigator and must sign the
proposal before it is submitted.

Where does the IRB get its authority?

Authority for the IRB is granted through the federal regulations that require any
institution that receives federal money for research to establish Institutional Review

Is it possible to know who reviewed my project?

If an investigator would like to discuss concerns with an IRB reviewer, the request
should be directed to the IRB coordinator and they will contact the reviewer. With
the permission of the reviewer, the name may be released; however, reviewer
confidentiality must be protected. Sometimes reviewers will call the Principal
Investigator on their own to ask questions about the research/proposal.

I’m running behind schedule and need to get my proposal reviewed quickly. How can a get the fastest review?

Proposals are processed in the order in which they are received. The type of review
is determined by federal guidelines that include evaluating the risks of the research
project, whether information is collected anonymously or confidentially, and other
factors. Depending on the type of review, some can only be carried out at scheduled
IRB meetings. Investigators need to plan ahead when doing research and submit to
the IRB so there is adequate time for review and approval before data collection can

Do I really have to use the application form provided? I have my own way of submitting proposals.

The application template makes it easier for reviewers because they know the
template so the review process can go faster.

What if I am doing a project in the classroom? Does that need IRB approval?

It depends; if human participants are involved and the results will be presented
outside the classroom you will need IRB approval.

What are the responsibilities of student IRB members?

o Preview meeting agenda before meetings
o Read all attachments
o Review assigned proposals and comment on them

When do I need IRB approval?

Whenever human participants are involved in research.

How do MSU labels match up with federal labels?

o Exempt Review > Level I
o Expedited Review > Level II
o Full Board Review > Level III

Please define the following:

o Principal Investigator - Faculty member or professional employee
o Co- Investigator: Faculty - Faculty member working on the research with the PI
o Co-Investigator: Student - Students who will be collaborating with the Principal Investigator conducting the research (e.g., MSU employees, graduate students, collaborating faculty)
o Administrative Review - Federal label that is the same as Level I review or Exempt review
o Exempt Review - Same as administrative review or Level I review
o Expedited Review - Federal label that is the same as Level II review
o Level I Review - MSU label that is the same as Exempt Review
o Level II Review - MSU label that is the same as Expedited Review
o Level III Review - MSU label that is the same as Full Board Review
o Full Board Review - Federal label that is the same as Level III review
o New Proposal - An original submission
o Amendment/Modification - Changes in the original (not-yet-approved) submission recommended by the IRB
o Revision - Changes in an approved proposal initiated by the Investigator(s)
o Continuation - Extension of an approved proposal that should be initiated by the Investigators 1-3 months prior to date in which approval terminates
o Withdrawal - Closure of a file for technical reasons (e.g., 'accidental' submission of the proposal before Investigators intended to do so, failure of investigators to sign proposal following requests from IRB Coordinator, duplicate proposals). Withdrawal can be initiated by IRB Coordinator or the Investigators; however, Investigators cannot withdraw a proposal; they must request the IRB Coordinator to do so.
o Deletion - Closure of a proposal that is labeled 'Work in Progress' by the Investigator. Deletions must occur prior to submission.
o Informed Consent - The process of describing the research to participants including the purpose, expected duration, procedures to be used, foreseeable risks, benefits, disclosure of alternative treatment, confidentiality, compensation, contacts, and a statement that the research is voluntary and the participant can quit at any time without penalty or loss of benefits. See for a checklist of all the required elements in a consent.