Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Do I need IRB Review?
    • If your research meets one of the following criteria, it needs IRB Review:
      1. Designed to generate generalizable knowledge;
      2. Puts participants at risk greater than the minimal risks of everyday life;
      3. Involves special populations including minors under 18 years of age;
      4. Will be disseminated in written form or public presentations, including in-class presentations
    • Faculty are encouraged to contact the IRB to determine if review is needed for course-related projects involving human beings.
  2. What is Research?
    • Research is defined by the federal regulations, as "a systematic investigation including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge."
  3. What are the levels of Review?
    • Exempt from Review - Certain projects, such as those that involve only survey, questionnaire or interview procedures and anonymous participation, may be categorized as no risk and may be exempt from review. The IRB determines if an application meets the exempt criteria. No research with participants under age 18 can be exempt.
    • Expedited Review - Applications that involve no more than minimal risk to human subjects may be eligible for an expedited review by the IRB administrator or chair.
    • Full Committee Review - Applications that involve more than minimal risk or those in which the identity of participants is at risk require a full IRB review.
  4. Should I use a disclosure statement or consent form?
    • If the research involves only survey, questionnaire or interview procedures where the participants will remain anonymous (no names given) and there is minimal or no risk in participation, a disclosure statement describing research procedures given to a participant may substitute for the consent form. A disclosure statement is not sufficient if participants are tape recorded, even if risks are minimal.
    • A consent form is required for audio/video taping, research with vulnerable populations (minors, persons not competent to give informed consent), research that is not anonymous or more than minimal risk.
      • Investigators must offer a copy of the consent or disclosure to their participants, and should keep copies of signed forms in a locked cabinet or password protected file for three years after completion of the project
    • Sample disclosure statement and consent forms can be found on the Forms page.
  5. When do I need a letter of agreement?
    • If your research will collaborate with a secondary organization such as a hospital or school, or if participants will be recruited from a specific population, a letter of agreement, on letterhead and with an original signature is required. The letter can be uploaded to the last section of question 8 on the IRB application.
    • I am not affiliated with Salem State. How do I submit an IRB application?
    • How do I file an extension for an approved project?
    • There are changes to my project since it was approved. How do I file a modification form?
      • Changes in scope, participants, methodology, principal investigator, risk, consent, etc should be submitted to the IRB for approval. 
      • Submit a modification form to the IRB administrator
    • How does SurveyMonkey adhere to IRB guidelines?
    • How do I turn off the IP addresses collection on the responses in SurveyMonkey (to maintain anonymity in survey data collection)?
    • What does SurveyMonkey do with my collected data or emails?
    • Can I use Google Forms or Facebook to collect data?
      1. Neither Google Forms or Facebook are secure methods of online data collection because confidentiality cannot be assured. The IRB supports the use Survey Monkey and Qualtrics for online data collection with IP address tracking turned off and SSL encryption enabled.
    • I want to hang flyers to recruit participants on campus.
      • In order to hang any research recruitment poster on campus, you must receive permission from the student involvement and activities office located in the Ellison Campus Center
      • Poster must also contain:
        • IRB Approval Date
        • Clear research title
        • Any limiting criteria
        • Brief description of research project
        • Faculty Advisor name and contact information
        • Researcher name and contact information
        • IRB contact information
        • Information on how to participate in the project and time commitment for participation
      • Flyers must also conform to the student involvement and activities posting policy




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