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Institutional Review Board

The purpose of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) is to ensure ethical treatment of research participants. IRB review for protection of human participants in research is a matter of institutional policy and federal law. The Belmont Report outlines the purpose of identifying the basic ethical principles that should underlie the conduct of biomedical and behavioral research involving human subjects and developing guidelines to assure that such research is conducted in accordance with those principles.

All research involving human participants (subjects) must be reviewed and approved by the University's IRB before you begin collecting data. This peer review ensures that adequate measures are being used to protect the individuals who volunteer to participate in your study. All human research must be approved by the IRB. No research is exempt from review.

The IRB reviews all proposed human subjects research in which the institution is engaged involving:  
          1. Intervention or interaction with human subjects
          2. Collection of identifiable private data on living individuals
          3. Data analysis of identifiable private information on living individuals

What is a human subject?
A living individual about whom an investigator (professional or student) conducting research obtains data through intervention or interaction with the individual, or identifiable private information (45 CFR 46). Identifiable information can be linked to a specific individual, either directly or indirectly, through coding systems. 

What is research? 
Research is defined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as a "systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge. (45 CFR 46)

To be considered a systematic investigation the concept of a research project must:

  • Attempt to answer research questions (in some research this would be a hypothesis).
  • Be methodically driven, that is, it collects data or information in an organized and consistent manner.
  • Analyze data or information in some way- whether quantitative or qualitative data.
  • Draw conclusions from the results.

For a project to contribute to generalizable knowledge, the project results/knowledge gained must: 

  • Contribute to a theoretical framework of an established body of knowledge.
  • The primary beneficiaries of the research are other researchers, scholars and practitioners in the field of study.
  • There will be publication, presentation, or other distribution of the results intended to inform the field of study.
  • The results are expected to be generalized to a larger population beyond the site of data collection.
  • The results are intended to be replicated in other settings.

When is UW Stevens Point engaged in research?
          1. Research conducted by any faculty or staff member, student, or visiting faculty scientist drawing salary for a UWSP sponsored project
          2. Research conducted by affiliated faculty under UWSP guidance
          3. Non-UWSP personnel using UWSP facilities/equipment not readily available to the public at large

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