Tips for the IRB Review Process

General Tips

IRB committee meetings are scheduled monthly. If you are working on a project involving a completion deadline (e.g., thesis or dissertation research), you should submit proposals to the IRB in a timely manner and with consideration of upcoming IRB meetings.

If your research involves co-investigators at other sites who are enrolling participants or collecting data, their institution may require IRB approval as well. Be sure to submit the IRB approval letter from the cooperating institution when you submit your UWF IRB application.

"Anonymity" means that an individual subject cannot be identified. No personal identifiers (e.g., name, signature, social security number, address, etc.) will be collected or associated with the data being used for research. "Confidentiality" implies subjects' identities are known but will be protected to some extent by the investigator. If you audiotape or videotape research participants, their data is NOT anonymous but measures can be taken to keep it confidential.

Once you have submitted your application, the IRB will either issue an approval or send a memo requesting clarification about your application. When responding to the IRB, submit a memo responding only to the specific concerns raised by the reviewers and attach any revised documents.

Preparing your Application

Perform a simple spell check of your application and supporting documents before submitting them to the IRB. Typographical or grammatical errors affect the potential participant's understanding of the study.

When submitting a new protocol application, the IRB will look at your proposed project start dates. Be sure that you submit your application in a timely manner so that the proposed start date does not overlap the IRB review of your proposal. You cannot start data collection involving human subjects until you have received IRB approval.

If your study does not require documented consent, you must provide the IRB with a substantive, written justification as to why this requirement should be waived.

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