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 that mirror human subjects research being conducted by students, but the activities and research plan do not actually meet the definition of “research” outlined in 45 CFR 46. Currently, the IRB will only review protocols that meet both the definition of “research” and the definition of a “human subject.”

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.

The USU IRB welcomes faculty who engage in classroom-based activities involving people or their private information to submit Requests for Determinations of Non-Human Subjects research in order to be certain that their activities do not rise to the level of requiring IRB review. Requests for Determination are not required, but it will help faculty to discern the lines between course activities and projects which require IRB oversight during the years following this deregulatory transition.

It is not the case that just because an activity takes place in a classroom, it is not “research” as set forth in 45 C.F.R. 46. Classroom activities can be research, and research can be classroom activities. It is always prudent to check with the IRB by filing a Request for Determination of Non-Human Subjects Research (or having the students complete those!) before commencing that work.

Download Best Practices for Classroom-Based Activities