Research Policy

Human Subjects Research

Institutional Review Board for Research on Human Subjects (IRB)

Submission and Review Guidelines

All proposals for research with human participants must go through the Institutional Review Board for Research with Human Subjects (IRB) before any data is collected.

The purpose of the IRB is to ensure that the rights of participants in human research are protected, in line with the federal guidelines (45 CFR 46).  All investigators conducting research with human subjects should submit a proposal to the IRB for review, and should only conduct the research AFTER the proposal is reviewed and approved. The IRB will not grant approval for proposals submitted after the data has already been collected.

Please fill out the IRB Form A for new proposals.  Instructions for selecting the review category can be found on the last two pages of the document.  These instructions do not need to be submitted with the IRB proposal.  You can also review an example IRB.

You have two options for submitting a hard copy of your completed IRB proposal (email proposals will not be accepted):

  1. Drop off the IRB proposal in Dunning N117.  The IRB mailbox is located on the top shelf of the bookshelf facing you as you walk in the door (see picture below). 
  2. Send the IRB proposal through campus mail (allow a couple extra days for mail) to:

Mrs. Bari Lynne Kersey

Dunning N117


In accordance with the Federal Guidelines for research with human subjects, you must obtain informed consent from all of your research subjects. If the subject is a minor (age 17 or under), you must obtain written consent from a parent or guardian.

Normally, proposals will be reviewed within five (5) business days of the date they are submitted to the review board.  Proposals requiring full committee review may take up to ten (10) business days for review.  Proposals submitted over breaks will take additional time.  Please allow an additional week for proposals submitted over break, and email the chair of the IRB when the IRB is submitted.

Following review, the primary investigator will receive email notification of the outcome of the review. The proposal may be approved, or it may require changes or additional information that must then be resubmitted for review.  For all of these reasons, investigators are strongly encouraged to submit their proposals at least three (3) weeks before they intend to start the project.

Most research proposal are approved for 1 year, unless otherwise specified.  For research that extends beyond 1 year, the investigator should submit a proposal for renewal (see next section).


An important duty of the Institutional Review Board is to maintain a record of all active research protocols. Therefore, projects that have been previously approved by the Board must be re-submitted for renewal either 1 year after initial approval, or if the research project is modified.  Please complete and submit Section I of Form C for project renewals.

In instances of longitudinal research, the investigator must submit a brief paragraph that summarizes the findings of the study and the justifications for renewal. Please complete and submit Section II of Form C for longitudinal project renewals.

For Research Participants

Washington College students who are 17 and younger, but would like to participate in research, can have their parent/guardian fill out the Parental/Guardian Consent Form.  This form must be returned to the chair of the IRB (Dr. Tia Murphy, before participating in research.

If you have participated in research and feel that you were treated in an unprofessional manner or have concerns about your rights as a research participant, you can contact the Principal Investigator or the chair of the Review Board for Research with Human Subjects (Dr. Tia Murphy,


Professor Tia Murphy, Chair of IRB


Professor Rick Locker, IRB Member, Natural Science Division Representative


Professor Caddie Putnam Rankin, IRB Member, Social Science Division Representative


Professor Alicia Kozma, IRB Member, Humanities and Fine Arts Division Representative