Human Subjects Research: Institutional Review Board (IRB)

The IRB is a federally-mandated body established under the DHHS regulations for the Protection of Human Subjects (45 CFR 46). Its purpose is to protect the rights and welfare of human subjects recruited to participate in research activities conducted under the auspices of Eastern Washington University (EWU).

Research involving human subjects must be reviewed and approved by the IRB prior to initiation of the research. This requirement applies to all human subject research conducted by faculty, staff and students, on- and off-campus, regardless of the funding support, if any, and its status as an Exempt, Non-Exempt Expedited or Full Application.

See also: EWU Human Subjects Research Policy


“A systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge. Activities which meet this definition constitute research for purposes of this policy, whether or not they are conducted or supported under a program which is considered research for other purposes. For example, some demonstration and service programs may include research activities.” (45 CFR 46.102)

Human Subjects

“A living individual about whom an investigator (whether professional or student) conducting research obtains (1) data through intervention or interaction with the individual, or (2) identifiable private information.” (45 CFR 46.102)

As the interpretations of research and normal classroom activities vary, questions arise on what falls within the federal guidelines of research, and activities designed to train students in research methods in the normal classroom setting. Educational activities usually do not fall within the federal definition of research as described in 45 CFR 46.102(d). However, any research conducted with the intent to either contribute to generalize knowledge or to construct knowledge related to a specific situation that will be published or presented within an academic discipline, even that originating from the classroom activity, may fall within the requirement for IRB review.

The instructor has the responsibility of ensuring students are educated on the general principles of research ethics and human subject protection. If project does need IRB review, all students involved in the project must complete CITI training (see CITI training section). Below are criteria to determine whether classroom assignments require IRB approval.

IRB Review Not Required

  • The project is a class requirement, and the requirement is stated on the class syllabus.
  • The project only involves members of the class.
  • The project is performed within the confines of the lecture/laboratory room.
  • The project carries no risk, as determined by the IRB.

Note: If research is conducted outside the confines of any classroom or laboratory, it may need to be reviewed by the IRB. Faculty may contact the IRB Chair to assist in determining if review is needed.

IRB Review is Required (if any of the following criteria is met)

  • It is a graduate thesis.
  • Participants are from a special population such as minors (under 18 years old), prisoners, patients, who are physically or mentally challenged individuals or pregnant women.
  • Assignment requires using a setting such as prisons, nursing homes, hospitals or schools.
  • Assignment focuses on topics such as alcohol/drugs, depression/suicide, learning disabilities, abortion, AIDS/HIV/sex, sexually transmitted diseases, eating disorders or psychological inventories.
  • Assignment includes audio or video recording.
  • Participants are directly identified through the assignment.
  • Data collected will be formally presented to any audience outside of the class (e.g., conference).
  • Data collected will be included in any publications.
  • The research extends beyond the classroom environment.

Accessing CITI Training

All students and faculty conducting or supervising research must complete Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) training, and upload their Completion Certificate to their IRB Application. Each module in the CITI training must be passed with at least an 80% pass rate.

To start the process:

Common Questions and Answers About CITI Training

I had to complete a CITI training as part of my Research class, do I still need to complete this CITI training?

Some programs and departments require CITI training of their students that is more comprehensive than the minimum training. This more comprehensive training may be used to satisfy the CITI training requirement.

Do I have to complete CITI training for Exempt applications?

Yes, the training is a requirement for all research applications including exempt, expedited and full board level research.

About how long will it take me to complete the training?

The training should take about an hour to complete. Each module is made up of readings and/or videos along with a short quiz.

What if I do not complete each module with an 80% pass rate?

A Completion Certificate will not generate. You need to return to the module and complete it with an 80% passing rate.

Do I have to submit a Completion certificate with each IRB application?


I already completed the CITI training; how do I find my Completion Certificate?

Log into CITI and at the top of the page select “My Courses.” On the next page, under “Institutional Courses” select “View Courses.” Your completed course will be under “Completed Courses.” Select “View Print Share Course” and on next page select “View Print” under Completion Certificate.

How do I find out whether my CITI training expired?

CITI trainings are good for three years. To find out your expiration date, log into CITI and at the top of the page select “My Courses.” Under “Institutional Courses” select “View Courses.” Your completed course will be under “Completed Courses.” Select “View Print Share Course” to view your certificate.

My CITI training expired; do I have to complete the training again?

Yes. Please go to “Accessing CITI Training” section above to find out which training you must complete.

New Applications

Use for Exempt and Non-Exempt applications. You will select type-Exempt, Expedited or Full-in the application.

Human Subjects Research Protocol Application

Exempt vs. Non-Exempt Research Decision Aid

Change and/or Renewal of Existing Protocol

Change and/or Renewal of Protocol Application


The following templates are meant to assist researchers in completing IRB applications. Use of these example documents does not automatically confirm that your application will be approved. Researchers may save the templates as Word documents and edit the yellow highlighted areas to reflect their research projects. When done editing, please remove all highlighting.

Consent Form Templates:

Student Primary Investigator: Consent Form for Anonymous Online Survey for Participants over 18 years of age

Faculty Primary Investigator: Consent Form for Anonymous Online Survey for Participants over 18 years of age

Consent Form for Confidential Research with Signatures for Participants over 18 years of age

Consent Form for When Audio or Visual Recordings will be Used

Parental Consent Form for When Children are Participants

Child Assent Form

Recruitment Script Templates:

Student Primary Investigator: Recruitment Script

Faculty Primary Investigator: Recruitment Script

The IRB meets monthly during the academic year contingent upon the receipt of a non-exempt application requiring full review. Full-review applications must be submitted at least two weeks prior to the meeting date. Submit all other applications at any time.

Winter and Spring 2024 Meeting Schedule

IRB meetings are being held via Zoom 2:00PM – 3:30PM.

January 12

February 9

March 8

April 5

May 3

Designated IRBs

The IRBs below are ones that EWU relies on when research subjects or data are involved with these agencies or institutions. Researchers must file their applications for human subjects research with these IRBs and provide their approvals to the EWU IRB for its records.  A second approval from the EWU is not necessary, however, the researcher is responsible for complying with all terms and conditions imposed by either WSIRB or IRB Spokane even though they may be affiliated with EWU. EWU has formal agreements in place with WSIRB and Spokane IRB and therefore EWU human research policies and procedures do not supersede these agreements.

Washington State IRB (WSIRB)

Reviews for Washington State Departments of:

  • Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF),
  • Health (DOH),
  • Corrections (DOC),
  • Social and Health Services (DSHS),
  • Health Care Authority (HCA),
  • Labor & Industries (L&I), and the
  • Office of Financial Management (OFM)

More information:

Spokane IRB

More information:

Addition questions? Please contact IRB chair, Heidi Hillman