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Certain activities have the characteristics of research but do not meet the regulatory definition of research needing IRB review. 

Examples of activities that may not need IRB review are: 

• Data collection for internal departmental, school, or other University administrative purposes (e.g. teaching evaluations, course evaluations, outcomes assessment). 
• If your research is a class project or term paper and will not be published in any form at any time. 
• Reviews and Searches of existing literature and research involving a living individual, such as a biography, that is not generalizable beyond that individual. 

Use the following guidelines to determine if your activities in the classroom are subject to IRB application and review.  An IRB Request for Class Project Waiver form is required for notification purposes if all of the following are true: 

a. The project is limited to surveys/questionnaires/interviews/observations of public behavior directly related to topics being studied in an official college course. 
b. The above surveys/questionnaires/activities, etc. contain no sensitive personal questions (e.g., no questions about drug use, sexual behavior or attitudes, criminal activity, grades, medical history) or other personal information that could stigmatize an individual. 
c. No identifying information is recorded to link a person with the data such that it could reasonably harm the individual's reputation, employability, financial standing, or place them at risk for criminal or civil liability. 
d. The participants in the project are not from a vulnerable or special population (e.g., pregnant women, prisoners, minors, cognitively impaired individuals). 
e. The collected data does not leave the classroom setting, or if the project involves collecting data on an organization, agency or company, the data are shared only with that entity. 
f. No New Mexico State University employee or student is receiving financial compensation for collecting, organizing, analyzing, or reporting the data.

If ALL of these conditions are not met, or if your project does not fall into any of these categories, your project will require IRB notification and formal IRB approval before you can start with your project. 

The following are examples of projects that do require IRB notification but are exempt from IRB review.  Nonetheless, formal paperwork needs to be submitted to the IRB prior to the start of the project since the decision on the exempt status is the sole responsibility of the IRB. 

• The study of or comparison among instructional techniques, curricula, or classroom management methods. 
• The use of educational tests (cognitive, diagnostic, aptitude, achievement), survey procedures, interview procedures or observation of public behavior, unless this involves any one under the age of 18. 
• The collection or study of existing data, documents, records, pathological specimens, or diagnostic specimens, if these sources are publicly available or the information is collected in a way that cannot be linked either directly or through identifiers to an individual. 

Final Considerations 
1. ALL research with children, including adolescents, must be reviewed by the IRB.  Children are considered a vulnerable research population under Title 45 CFR Part 46.  They are less able to give fully-informed consent with respect to the research involved.  Safeguard procedures and considerations are, therefore, required by the Federal regulations for the review of research involving children.  In almost all cases, written consent from a parent or legal guardian must be obtained if the research involves children under the age of 18. 

2. Even in the case where a project is not subject for review, the instructor/faculty member is responsible to uphold all applicable (e.g., American Psychology Association, American Counseling Association, National Institute of Health, etc.) ethical standards and guidelines in course-related research activities when it comes to the treatment of human subjects. 

3. It is the responsibility of the supervising instructor/faculty member to determine whether projects are subject to review.  It is always best to err on the safe side and seek consultation from the IRB if a question arises regarding human subjects, research and classroom activities. 

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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