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Exempt Research Activities

Studies which fall under any exempt category as defined by 45 CFR 46.101(b) may qualify for an exempt review.  An exemption cannot be granted for research that uses prisoners and for research with children that involves survey or interview procedures or observation of public behavior, unless the research involves observations of public behavior when the investigator(s) does not participate in the activities being observed.  If the IRB finds the study is not exempt, it must go through an expedited or full board review.  While research activities in which the only involvement of human subjects will be in one or more of the following categories are exempt from the 45 CFR 46 regulations, they must still be submitted to the IRB for their review and approval. 

Categories of Exempt Research Activities

1. Educational Practices
Research conducted in established or commonly accepted educational settings, involving normal educational practices, such as: 


(a). research on regular and special educational instructional strategies, or

(b). research on the effectiveness of or the comparison among instructional techniques, curricula, or classroom management methods.

2. Surveys, Questionnaires, Interviews, Observational Studies
Research involving the use of educational tests (cognitive, diagnostic, aptitude, achievement), survey procedures, interview procedures, or observation of public behavior unless: 


a. information obtained is recorded in such a manner that human subjects can be identified, directly or through identifiers linked to the subjects; and

b. any disclosure of the human subjects' responses outside the research could reasonably place the subjects at risk of criminal or civil liability or be damaging to the subjects' financial standing, employability, or reputation.

3. Educational Tests
Research involving the use of educational tests (cognitive, diagnostic, aptitude, achievement), survey procedures, interview procedures, or observation of public behavior, if: 


a. the human subjects are elected or appointed public officials or candidates for public office; or

b. federal statue(s) require(s) without exception that the confidentiality of the personally identifiable information will be maintained throughout the research and thereafter.

4. Existing Data or Specimens
Research involving the collection or study of existing data documents, records, pathological specimens, or diagnostic specimens, if these sources are publicly available or if the information is recorded by the investigator in such a manner that subjects cannot be identified, directly or through identifiers linked to the subjects. 

5. Research and Demonstration Projects
Research and demonstration projects which are conducted by or subject to the approval of department or agency heads, and which are designed to study, evaluate or otherwise examine: 


a. public benefit or service programs;

b. procedures for obtaining benefits or services under those programs;

c. possible changes in or alternatives to those programs or procedures; or

d. possible changes in methods or levels of payment for benefits or services under those programs.

6. Taste and Food Quality and Consumer Acceptance
Taste and food quality evaluation and consumer acceptance studies,


a. if wholesome foods without additives are consumed, or

b. if a food is consumed that contains a food ingredient at or below the level and for a use found to be safe, or agricultural chemical or environmental contaminant at or below the level found to be safe, by the Food and Drug Administration or approved by the Environmental Protection Agency or the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the U. S. Department of Agriculture.

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ORC Contact Information

Physical Address
Office of Research Compliance
Anderson Hall
New Mexico State University
1050 Stewart St.
Las Cruces, NM 88003-8002
(575)646-7177
E-mail: ovpr@nmsu.edu

Mailing Address
Office of Research Compliance
New Mexico State University
MSC 3RES P O Box 30002
Las Cruces, NM 88003-8002