Human Subjects Research
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Committee for Human Subjects Research
Guidelines for Classroom Projects Using Human Subjects
Many projects conducted to fulfill course requirements involve research with human subjects. Occasionally, such research entails certain risks to these subjects. Because students vary in expertise regarding research procedures designed to protect the rights of human subjects, the committee recommends the following guidelines regarding classroom-based research projects. These guidelines are intended to make clear which types of projects should be reviewed by the CHSR and which do not need committee approval. Instructors who have questions about whether a particular project should be submitted for review are advised to contact the chair of the CHSR.
Conditions under which approval by the CHSR is recommended
A project should be reviewed if it satisfies any of the following conditions:
- The project can identify the subjects by direct correlation, by the responses to specific questions, or by specific behaviors.
- The project involves the use of subjects under the age of 18 years.
- The project systematically selects subjects from a vulnerable population, such as children, prisoners, pregnant women, or handicapped or mentally disabled persons, and collects data from them regarding their opinions, behavior, or experiences.
- The project proposes to investigate opinions, behaviors, or experiences regarding sensitive topics. Some examples of sensitive topics are the following:
- Sexual orientation or behavior;
- AIDS or HIV;
- Incest, rape or date rape, sexual molestation;
- Contraception, pregnancy, or abortion;
- Substance use or abuse;
- Criminal behavior;
- Eating disorders or behaviors;
- A subject's mental health;
- Religious orientation or views;
- Veteran or wartime experiences.
- The subjects are placed at more than minimal risk.
- The project involves deception.
- The results might be published, presented, or distributed in a public forum.
Conditions under which approval by the CHSR is not expected
A project need not be reviewed if it meets all of the following criteria:
- The subjects cannot be identified by name or description, are all at least 18 years of age, and are not from a vulnerable population.
- The subjects are not required to reveal anything about sensitive topics, nor are they placed at more than minimal risk in any other way by their participation.
- The project does not involve deception.
- The results will not be published, presented, or distributed in a public forum.
It is the responsibility of the course instructor to determine whether a particular classroom project should be reviewed. The CHSR encourages all student researchers to submit a proposal form if the project may eventually constitute "research" as defined by our committee. Of course, any project may be submitted for normal review if the instructor feels the experience would benefit the students involved.