Classroom-Based Research Projects

As of Fall 2019, faculty at USU are no longer required to submit Course Research projects to the IRB for approval. Course Research projects are classroom activities and assignments conducted by students that mirror human subjects research, but the activities and research plan do not actually meet the definition of “research” outlined in 45 C.F.R. 46. 

If students will engage in course-based activities that involve human subjects and meet the definition of “research” contained in 45 C.F.R. 46, prospective review and approval from the IRB is still required. Research that is being performed with students as participants still require prospective review and approval from the IRB as well. It is not the case that just because an activity takes place in a classroom or for class, it is not “research” as set forth in 45 C.F.R. 46. Classroom activities can be research, and research can be classroom activities.

The USU IRB welcomes faculty who engage in classroom-based activities involving people or their private information to submit Non-Human Subjects Research (NHSR) Determinations with their students in order to be certain that their students' activities do not rise to the level of requiring IRB review. NHSR submissions are not required, but it will help faculty to discern the lines between course activities and projects which require IRB oversight. We ask that you email us to let us know that these will be coming in for a particular class, especially if the goal is for the project not to be considered "research" under the federal regulatory definition. The Human Research Protections Staff are also very happy to give class presentations as we are able; email with some available dates and times and we will pair you with a staff member whenever possible. These presentations have, historically, made that submission and review process considerably easier on students.

Download Best Practices for Classroom-Based Activities

Download a Consent Template for Classroom Activities