Who Must Apply

All Gettysburg College faculty, students, and administrators who conduct research using information or biospecimens collected from human subjects must submit their projects for review by the College's IRB with the exclusion of those who engage in the kinds of research described below, and those who engage in activities deemed not to be “research.”

Research That Does Not Require IRB Review

  • Institutional Research: includes research designed to evaluate internal institutional programs where the results are intended solely for internal college use.
  • Student Research for a Class: includes research projects and the employment of research methods (in and outside the classroom) designed to teach research skills “for pedagogical purposes only” within the context of a class taught by a professor. However, students who engage in an individualized capstone project, senior thesis, or other research project who intend to disseminate their research beyond the College, by presenting it at a conference or publishing it in a journal or on a webpage, must submit their projects for IRB approval before research begins. The IRB submission process must be fully overseen by the student’s project advisor.

*Note that it is okay for students to present research at Celebration that has not undergone IRB approval. However, students who publish research on Cupola must have submitted the research for IRB approval.

Activities That Are Not Deemed to Be “Research” and Thus Require No IRB Review

  • Scholarly and journalistic activities (e.g., oral history, journalism, biography, literary criticism, legal research, and historical scholarship), including the collection and use of information, that focus directly on the specific individuals about whom the information is collected.
  • Public health surveillance activities, including the collection and testing of information or biospecimens, conducted, supported, requested, ordered, required, or authorized by a public health authority. Such activities are limited to those necessary to allow a public health authority to identify, monitor, assess, or investigate potential public health signals, onsets of disease outbreaks, or conditions of public health importance (including trends, signals, risk factors, patterns in diseases, or increases in injuries from using consumer products). Such activities include those associated with providing timely situational awareness and priority setting during the course of an event or crisis that threatens public health (including natural or man-made disasters).
  • Collection and analysis of information, biospecimens, or records by or for a criminal justice agency for activities authorized by law or court order solely for criminal justice or criminal investigative purposes.
  • Authorized operational activities (as determined by each agency) in support of intelligence, homeland security, defense, or other national security missions.

*Exclusion from IRB review does not imply that researchers are free to ignore ethical considerations such as informed consent or privacy considerations. The ethical and legal standards appropriate for one's discipline still apply.