Guideline for Course and Instructional IRB Review

This guideline provides summaries from CSUSM IRB Policy to help instructors assess whether or what kind of review is necessary.

1. Review for Course and Instructional Projects May Not Be Needed

Research Training courses and classroom curricula projects in which students conduct research involving human subjects do not usually require review. This includes student feedback (evaluation) surveys, most classroom assessment techniques, and most exercises under the direct supervision of the instructor.

Research training courses and classroom curriculum projects in which students conduct research involving human subjects need not be reviewed by the IRB if all four of the following conditions are satisfied:

  • The project(s) involves no more than minimal risk to subjects;
  • the project(s) do not involve vulnerable populations;
  • the results will not be presented, published or distributed outside the classroom and/or institutional setting; and
  • the subjects remain anonymous.

Activities that are part of coursework but do not meet these conditions require a CSUSM Course and Instructional Review, Exempt Review, or Expedited Review, as appropriate.

2. When A Course and Instructional IRB Review Is Needed

Research training courses and classroom curriculum projects in which students conduct research involving human subjects will be reviewed as exempt if all three of the following conditions are satisfied:

  • The research involves no more than minimal risk to subjects;
  • the results may be published, presented, and/or distributed outside the classroom or institutional setting. 

A CSUSM Course & Instructional IRB Review form may be used in lieu of individual  forms for each student as long as any presentations are specifically labeled as class projects.

Additional Considerations for Classroom Assignments & Student Projects

When classroom assignments and student projects are for the purposes of training and not for published research or generalized knowledge, IRB review may not be necessary. The course instructor is responsible for including information about the ethical research practices and providing direct supervision of each project. Projects conducted for this purpose should not exceed minimal risk, target special populations, and/or include sensitive subject matter.

If a classroom project is presented at a conference, it must clearly indicate that it is a classroom project.

If the goal is publication and additional data will be gathered beyond the classroom project/time period, the student must file an appropriate IRB application.