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Human Subjects Research at Smith College

Welcome to the web site of the Smith College Institutional Review Board (IRB). The IRB upholds the principles of the Belmont Report and established guidelines for assuring that human research participants are treated with dignity, respect, and with due regard for their welfare. We are committed to safeguarding and upholding the rights and welfare of all people who volunteer to participate in research.

  »  If you are uncertain as to whether your research requires IRB approval, please see the Who Needs to Apply page.
  »  If you need to apply for IRB approval for your research project, please follow the steps on the Application Process page, which includes new information about the application process and required training.
  »  All IRB applications must be submitted on the most current version of the forms. Current versions of all IRB Forms and Templates can be found on the Forms page.
  »  The IRB membership and schedule of monthly meetings for this semester can be found on the members and schedule page.

IRB approval is required before data collection can begin. To avoid delays in starting your research, you should plan to submit your proposal as early in the semester as possible. Because the IRB may not be available over the summer and during holidays, proposals should be submitted well in advance for projects to be carried out during these times or during the first few weeks of either semester.

Please note that the IRB cannot approve a proposal submitted after research is initiated, nor can the IRB sanction any human subjects data collected without approval.


NEW FALL 2016 Classroom Research Policy for Smith College IRB

This U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines human subjects research as “a systematic investigation designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge” typically involving obtaining information from living individuals. Many forms of human subjects research are subject to Institutional Review Board (IRB) review and approval before they can proceed.  This document describes a change in Smith College IRB policy regarding classroom research, which will be defined hereafter as “the study of living persons outside the classroom as part of an academic exercise with the goal of enhancing student learning rather than yielding generalizable knowledge.” Classroom research should be distinguished from collecting data from students within a classroom as part of a classroom exercise, which never requires IRB review. Classroom research should also be distinguished from special studies, honors theses, and other original research projects that may be published or presented off campus, which typically require IRB review.  This policy will be in effect beginning the Fall 2016 semester and will be reviewed before Fall 2017 to determine if further modification is required.

LINK to PDF of REVISED Classroom Research Policy for Smith College IRB, 9.1.2016

Link to a template for Written Informed Consent for Classroom Research

Link to a template for "Click" Informed Consent for Classroom Research

If you have any questions, please contact the IRB at or at x3562.

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