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Southern Oregon University

What is an IRB and why do we need one?

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) have been established by the federal government to protect the rights and welfare of human subjects participating in research activities. The IRB ensures that physical, psychological, and social risks to research subjects are minimized, and that the risks associated with the research are commensurate with the importance of the research and/or the knowledge to be gained. The IRB also ensures that research subjects receive accurate, complete, and comprehensible information about the nature of the research and any associated risks, as well as their rights as research subjects.

SOU Institutional Review Board

The SOU Institutional Review Board (IRB) is a presidential committee mandated by Federal guidelines for research involving Federal monies and by University accrediting bodies. All research activities involving the use of human beings as research subjects (participants) must be reviewed and approved by the IRB. Investigators may not solicit subject participation or begin data collection until they have received approval from the IRB or written concurrence that research has been determined to be exempt. The committee meets on an ad hoc basis as proposals are submitted for review.

The mission of the IRB is to:

  • promote the rights and welfare of human research participants
  • facilitate ethical research
  • provide guidance and support to the research community in the conduct of research with human subjects
  • assist the research community in ensuring compliance with the standards set forth in the Code of Federal Regulations by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The overall intent of the policy is to ensure that human subjects are treated physically, psychologically and socially in such a way as to minimize embarrassment and stress, and to avoid harm or other negative effects.