Three Types of Ethics Reviews

1. Exempt Review - an exempt review is based on one or more of the following categories:

Note: Exempt review cannot be claimed for any research involving prisoners and most research involving children.

  • Research conducted in established or commonly accepted educational settings and involving normal educational practices such as
    • research on regular and special education instructional strategies, or
    • research on the effectiveness of or the comparison among instructional techniques, curricula or classroom management methods.
  • Research involving the use of survey procedures, educational tests (cognitive, diagnostic, aptitude, achievement), interview procedures or observation of public behavior, if
    • information from these sources is recorded in such a manner that participants cannot be identified, directly or through identifiers linked to the subjects; and
    • any disclosure of the human subjects' responses outside the research could reasonably place the subjects at risk of criminal or civil liability or be damaging to the subjects' financial standing, employability or reputation
      Note: This category cannot be used for research involving children
  • Research involving the use of survey procedures, educational tests (cognitive, diagnostic, aptitude, achievement), interview procedures, or observation of public behavior, if
    • the human subjects are elected or appointed public officials or candidates for public office; or
    • federal statute(s) require(s) without exception that the confidentiality of the personally identifiable information will be maintained throughout the research and thereafter
  • Research involving the collection or study of existing data, documents, records, pathological specimens or diagnostic specimens, if these sources are publicly available or if the information is recorded by the investigator in such a manner that subjects cannot be identified, directly or through identifiers linked to the subjects.
  • Research and demonstration projects which are conducted by or subject to the approval of federal department or agency heads, and which are designed to study, evaluate, or otherwise examine.
    • Public benefit or service programs
    • Procedures for obtaining benefits or services under those programs;
    • Possible changes in or alternatives to those programs or procedures; or
    • Possible changes in methods or levels of payment for benefits or services under those programs

2. Expedited Review, an expedited review is based on meeting all of the following conditions:

Note: Expedited review cannot be claimed for research involving prisoners.

  • Research poses no more than minimal risk to subjects (defined as "the probability and magnitude of harm or discomfort anticipated 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.")
  • Research limited to one or more of the following data collection procedures:
  • Collection of data through noninvasive procedures routinely employed in clinical practice
  • Research involving materials (data, documents, records or specimens) that have been collected, or will be collected solely for nonresearch purposes
  • Collection of data from voice, video, digital, or image recordings made for research purposes
  • Research on individual or group characteristics or behavior (including, but not limited to, research on perception, cognition, motivation, identity, language, communication, cultural beliefs or practices, and social behavior) or research employing survey, interview, oral history, focus group, program evaluation, human factors evaluation or quality assurance methodologies

Note: Some research in this category may be classified as exempt; this listing refers only to research that is not exempt.

Continuing review of research previously approved by the convened Board as follows:

  • where
    • the research is permanently closed to the enrollment of new subjects;
    • all subjects have completed all research-related interventions; and
    • the research remains active only for long-term follow-up of subjects; or
  • where no subjects have been enrolled and no additional risks have been identified; or
  • where the remaining research activities are limited to data analysis

3. Full-Board Review

If your submission does not fit the above information, or has any higher-risk procedures or methods, then it will go to full-board review.

Typical Response Time:

  • Exempt Review: 1 week
  • Expedited Review: 2 weeks
  • Full Board Review: 1 month
  • SPC HSRC committee deadlines for review are November 30 before Christmas break and June 15 before summer.

We know that research is time-sensitive and needs to be completed efficiently. We have turnaround times for each of the three types of review. Note that the typical turnaround time for submissions assumes that all information submitted was complete and clear to the readers. Additional information gathering or clarifications can add time.