1. Start the application process by taking the IRB Quiz, which helps determine whether a formal application is required. This quiz uses the Federal definitions of “research” and “human subjects” to assess whether a particular investigation merits an application to the IRB. Not all investigations qualify as “research” in the Federal definition, nor do all people qualify as “human subjects” in the Federal definition!

If the quiz seems to leave doubt as to whether your study is or is not “research on human subjects,” consult with the IRB chair.

2. Review the “Frequently Asked Questions” page to see if any of its items can shed light on your project and improve your application. Pay particular attention to the item on data security, as many IRB applications are slowed or rejected because the applicant included inadequate plans to secure research data such as subjects’ identities.

3. If an application is necessary:

  • It is good practice to write up and save your application off-line, using the sample application form and then cut and past your application into the web-based form. It may also be helpful to complete a Data Security Inventory form, which will also be a required part of the the web-based application form. These practice steps are optional.
  • Download and complete the Consent form (customizing it for your project!).
  • Draft additional materials integral to the research project, such as
    • interview script
    • sample questionnaire
    • draft survey
    • recruitment/marketing materials

4. After making any necessary changes, upload a full complement of materials through the online application system.  

Note: If you are off campus, you will need to login to the Carleton VPN before you begin your application.

Please note: All applicants must complete the application form and the data security assessment form prior to submitting to the IRB. You must complete all of the required fields on both forms. Form errors will be highlighted at the top of the page and you won’t be able to submit your form until all of the errors have been reconciled. You can click on the error at the top of the page and it will take you to the field that needs to be completed.

Beware that the OnBase online application system is a session based system that will time out due to inactivity. If a user leaves the window open, the session will end and the non-submitted form will not be saved. Scroll to the bottom of the screen and to click the “Save to Complete Later” button at the bottom of the form after completing each block of the application. You’ll be sent a link by email to re-access your application.

When you “Save to Complete Later” your application will be put into draft mode. If you leave your application in draft mode for 14 days without completing it you will no longer have access to the form. However, you can email Danette DeMann (ddemann@carleton.edu) and she can retrieve the application for you so that you can continue.

The IRB Committee retains submitted applications for no more than three years. Please make sure to save a backup copy of all documents for your records!

Students: After submitting your application, your research advisor will receive an email requesting that he or she review the application. Your advisor must review and approve the application before the application can be reviewed by the IRB. Be sure to let your advisor know when you’ve submitted the application and ask him or her to approve it promptly!

5. Wait for the review! During the academic year, IRB applications are distributed to IRB members for review each Thursday.

The review process can take up to two weeks, so please take that into consideration if you have a deadline or if your fellowship funding is contingent on IRB approval.

Applicants can help expedite the process by promptly responding if the reviewer requests clarification or needs additional information.

Information about the review process can be found on the “What Happens Next?” page.