Research as part of a Course

A number of Adams State University professors have designed courses where the students must conduct research of various kinds. Most of these activities do not require an IRB application provided that they meet the criteria for “exempt” status (see exempt status application form and exempt research explanation form). The primary factor that makes these activities exempt is that they are not considered research that adds to the “general knowledge” of a field because they will not be published in a journal or presented at a conference. For any of the following class activities the professor of record must file an application for exempt status for the assignment. The IRB must have these applications on record in order for the research to be conducted.

If at a later date a student decides to present the information at a conference or to try to publish the research in a journal then an application for IRB clearance can be completed along with a “change of status” memo informing the IRB as to why the application is being made after the research was conducted.

The following class based activities are considered to be research:

  • Observations of anyone under the age of 18 (e.g. classroom or child observations). Note: Observations also require the permission of the educational institute where the observation will take place and/or the parent of the child being observed. The professor of record is responsible for documenting this permission.
  • Survey, interview, focus group, or experimental research that is of minimal risk and will involve students, staff, or faculty of Adams State University. Minimal risk means that the probability and magnitude of harm or discomfort in the research are not greater in and of themselves than those ordinarily encountered in daily life or during the performance of routine physical or psychological examinations or tests. Note: all projects that all under this category will require the student researcher to obtain either verbal or written consent from all participants
  • Research using public records that are gathered from courses outside of the classroom setting.

Note: Observations of people over the age of 18 who are not a special population and who are in a public setting do not require IRB oversight provided these observations will not be used in a publication or presentation.

Faculty are asked to evaluate student projects closely to make sure they meet the criteria for exemption. If faculty have any questions about a projects ability to meet the criteria for exemption then they should either submit the project for IRB evaluation or ask the student to redesign the project.