The psychology department at Gettysburg College is committed to protecting the rights and welfare of all research subjects. Therefore, a departmental ethics representative is responsible for oversight of all research within the department and approves, monitors, and reviews faculty and student research. The review process varies depending on the level of risk to participants and the type of research.
Levels of Risk
There are three federally-defined levels of risk (and therefore three categories of review) for all research projects involving human subjects. Consult the College Institutional Review Board (IRB) website for a complete description of each review category. For all research involving vertebrate animals, consult the College Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) website.
The departmental ethics representative will review and approve all proposals that fall under the Exempt and Expedited review categories. Proposals that are approved at the departmental level are forwarded to the College IRB for record-keeping. Proposals that are determined to require Full Review are forwarded to the College IRB. Note, however, that some federal funding agencies require that the College IRB review all proposals, even if they qualify under the Exempt or Expedited review categories. In those cases, all proposals will be forwarded to the College IRB.
Types of Research Activities
The ethical review process also varies as a function of the type of research activity. Regardless of the type of research activity, however, if child participants are involved, then Full Review by the College IRB is mandatory.
In these cases, individual instructors are responsible for oversight of all class projects. For classroom-based projects that do not meet all of the above conditions, however, course instructors must submit a proposal to the departmental ethics representative (for projects that qualify for Exempt and Expedited review) or to the College IRB (for projects that require Full Review).
Faculty teaching Experimental Methods (Psyc 305) and the Advanced Laboratory courses typically require students to complete a proposal that is reviewed by the course instructor as part of the learning process, even in cases that do not meet the federal definition of human subjects research as outlined above. These proposals are kept on file in the instructor’s office for three years.
If substantive changes are necessary for an approved research project, then the researchers must submit a completed Revision Form and cease data collection until this revision form is reviewed. Revisions will be reviewed at the same level as the original proposal.
All forms needed to submit an application, or to revise an existing research project, are available on the College IRB Forms Website.
Office of Human Research Protection (OHRP) Website (the governmental agency that oversees all human subjects research)
Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) Website (research ethics training that is required for all faculty conducting human subjects research)
College IACUC Website (for all research projects involving vertebrate animals)