IRB and UG class projects -Reply William Campbell 05 Oct 1995 07:03 EST
We (University of Wisconsin-River Falls) are a public regional
comprehensive university, but we are not on quarters.
Our IRB uses three categories of review: exempted, expedited, and full
board. The project where nursing students are surveying others would
probably be exempted under our system (unless they are surveying a
protected class of persons, e.g. minors)--that means that the IRB
administrator (me) can approve it. I usually do it within a day. If there is
slightly more risk, an expedited review (administrator plus chair) is
sometimes appropriate, that takes 3 days. Full board review can take up
to a month, depending on timing of meetings. Our IRB handles fewer
than ten full-board reviews per semester.
I believe it is instructive for students to go through the IRB
process--writing a protocol, designing an informed consent form, etc. I
have sometimes spoken before classes on the IRB and its functions and
then fielded protocols from all members. Not often, though. We also
have a category for classroom experiments/demonstrations, where the
instructor asks for approval for a protocol covering the entire class'