The role of the board
Before conducting research with or gathering research data from human participants at Union College, prospective researchers need to get approval from Union College’s Human Subjects Review Board (HSRB).
The HSRB is a board of individuals who approve and monitor research to ensure that human participants are treated ethically. The ethical standards we enforce are in line with the standards maintained by the Office of Human Research Protections at the Department of Health and Human Services of the U.S. Federal government, and the standards required by professional organizations in research-related fields.
The HSRB has the authority to approve, disapprove, require modifications and carry out ongoing monitoring of research submitted for approval.
The HSRB consists of faculty from various disciplines at Union College who are qualified to assess ethical treatment and bring diverse perspectives to adequately address concerns from different areas.
Categories of research applications
When you submit an application for review by the board, the extent of the review is determined by the research methodology and exposure that potential participants will have to possible harm. Harm can be physical, social or psychological in nature. There are three categories of research applications:
- Minimal review. This category includes research that has been approved by Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) at other organizations, when an individual is seeking permission to collect data at Union College after being given approval elsewhere. For minimal review, the researcher will need to submit a copy of their IRB approval along with a description of their study, consent documents, and data collection measures as indicated in the application form. Approval for qualifying research should take approximately one week.
- Moderated Review. This category includes research with procedures that are of minimal to low moderate risk to potential participants, and has not previously been approved by any other IRB. This category encompasses all survey type research, research that involves existing records, research that involves interviews and cognitive and academic tests, and research that includes minimally invasive physical activities. Researchers under this category will need to submit a detailed description of their research plan, copies of all written data collection measures, consent forms and any other relevant documents as stated in the application. Approval for research in this category will take a minimum of three weeks.
- This category includes research identified as Exempt Research by Protection of Human Subjects Title 45, Code of Regulation Part 46.104 (45 CFR 46.104)
- Full Review. This category includes all research that involves procedures that would expose participants to moderate and/or high risk of harm. This includes all research seeking initial approval that is not covered under number 2, moderated review. Researchers under this category will need to submit a detailed description of their research plan, copies of all written data collection measures, consent forms and any other relevant documents as stated in the application. Approval for research in this category will require a full meeting of the board and will take a minimum of four weeks.
The following video provides step by step instructions for filling out the HSRB application for those who are new to the process.