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:

  1. download a sample application form (which includes the sample Data Security form) for use in organizing your thoughts before you apply online (optional),
  2. download and complete the Consent Form (customizing it for your project!),
  3. 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.

Please note: All applicants must complete the application form and 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.

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. If you are not able to complete the application and you need to leave it to find some information, make sure to click the “Save to Complete Later” button at the bottom of the form. You will then receive an email containing a link to get back into the form so that you can continue.

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. Under normal circumstances, applications are reviewed within a week of that date.

However, if an application is incomplete or if the reviewer needs additional information, the review may take longer. Applicants can help keep the process moving by responding promptly to reviewers’ questions!

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