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When is an Application to the IRB Required?

When is an Application to the IRB Required?

It is the policy of Oklahoma State University that all research involving human subjects conducted by faculty, students or staff of OSU, shall be submitted to the OSU Institutional Review Board for review before it is initiated. This is true regardless of the location where the research is conducted.

To determine if your project requires IRB review you will need to assess first if it meets the definition of research, and then if human subjects are truly involved.


For some categories of research it is difficult to determine whether or not they qualify as human subject research. A flow chart to assist with this decision is available at

Parts 2 and 3 of the Adobe application will help step you through the decision making process as to whether or not your study qualifies as research involving human subjects. Please print the determination for your records.

Research as a Class Requirement

Activities involving human subjects conducted for instructional purposes as a requirement for an OSU graduate or undergraduate class usually do not fall with in the definition of research and would not require IRB review.

However, exceptions do occur and if any of the following criteria are met, the project must be reviewed by the IRB:

  • The results will be generalizable
  • The project will be conducted with a special population (children, prisoners, decisionally impaired)
  • The project will be conducted in a prison, nursing home, hospital or school
  • The project includes collection of sensitive information such as:
    • Sexual attitudes, preferences or practices
    • Alcohol or drug use or other illegal conduct
    • Depression/suicide
  • The project includes audio or videotaping
  • Participants will be directly identifiable

The IRB encourages all faculty who plan to include research with human subjects in their curriculum to contact the IRB office in order to verify review guidelines and ensure efficient review, if necessary. Any questions regarding the need for review can be directed to the IRB Office at 405.744.5700.

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