Oversight of all on-campus or university-authorized research or projects that involve human subjects will be exercised by the Institutional Review Board (IRB).
- Steve Robbins, Chair, College of Arts and Sciences
- Sophie Farley, College of Health Sciences
- Elaine Jones, College of Arts and Sciences
- Hilary Dick, College of Arts and Sciences
- Therese Johnston, College of Health Sciences
- Fabio Oldoni, College of Arts and Sciences
- Tanya Santangelo, School of Education (also a member of the IACUC)
- Ryan Zarzycki, College of Health Sciences
Research Projects FAQs
Must research projects conducted by students be submitted?
YES. Student research, regardless if graduate or undergraduate is a serious enterprise and must follow all legal and moral standards of scientific conduct. Students need to determine with their faculty advisor what level of review their project qualifies, with the understanding the the IRB Chair determine the level of review.
Must research projects using Arcadia University students conducted as part of a class demonstration or exercise be submitted?
YES, even though your project may qualify for exempt status you must still submit the Arcadia University IRB Exemption Form as well as copies of informed consent/assent documents, copies of interview protocols, surveys, data collections documents, etc. along with all standard protocol submission documents.
If I have students within a class conduct research as part of the class requirements, do they need to submit this to the IRB?
YES. Any demonstrations, exercises, labs, etc. that involve collecting responses from human subjects needs to be submitted, even if those subjects are friends, relatives, etc. of the students in the class or even the students themselves. In certain circumstances, including if the data is collected anonymously and are not of a sensitive nature, such research may qualify for exempt status. You are encouraged to consult the Arcadia University IRB Exemption Form [LINK] for the federal delineations relative to research qualifying for exempt status.
If the research occurs elsewhere, do I still need to go through the Arcadia IRB?
YES. Whenever a member of the university community is conducting research with Arcadia University as their affiliation, they need to submit that research to the Arcadia University IRB.
I’ve been doing research here at Arcadia University for years, why the need for all the changes?
These are not changes so much as formalizing procedures that have been in place. In addition, these upgrades in procedures are necessary because the federal guidelines have become more explicit. Furthermore, we need to be diligent in our record keeping in light of increased government funding to Arcadia faculty in recent years.
I don’t agree with these policies and feel that they should not apply to me, what is the worst thing that can happen?
Documented instances of a violation of the Arcadia University IRB Guidelines could result in the loss or disruption of Federal funds to the institution. In addition, the IRB has the power to suspend or terminate previously approved protocols if warranted. In an extreme case, violation of Arcadia University’s Scientific Misconduct Policies, violation of the ethical standards advocated by an individual’s professional societies, or a violation of the professional standards of conduct expected of all Arcadia University Faculty and Staff will subject that individual to sanctions advocated by these groups.
At what age are children capable of giving written informed consent/assent?
Twelve (12) and above. See section on Research Involving Minors in IRB Guidelines.
Besides parents who else do I need to get permission from if I want to use children in my research?
If you are using children from a school or community agency you will need to get the permission of the school or agency official on their letterhead. See section on Research Involving Minors in IRB Guidelines.
IBR Surveys and Action Research Situations
Informed Consent for Surveys
When a researcher intends to administer a completely anonymous one-time questionnaire, informed consent can be incorporated into the survey instead of utilizing a separate signed consent form. To do this, the researcher should include a cover page to the survey in which the standard information from the consent form is explained. That is, introduce yourself and the study, emphasize that there is no identifying information on the survey and that participants should not put their names or other identifying information on it. Make the final paragraph something like:
“I understand the nature and purpose of this project and filling out this survey provides consent for the information to be used anonymously and confidentially in the study. I understand that I can choose to leave a question blank if I would rather not answer it. Clicking "next" or turning the page constitutes my informed consent to participate in this research.”
By doing this, researchers need not pass out and collect (traditional) consent forms before the surveys are administered. Be sure to remind participants to print a copy for their records or to give copies of this cover page for participants to keep.
To date, researchers at Arcadia University have used, and the IRB has approved the use of SurveyMonkey.com. This last statement is merely informational and does not imply endorsement of this method of data collection nor these web sites in particular on the part of the IRB.
Please be aware that web-based distribution sites generally charge a fee for their services; some may even offer a low introductory offer or an introductory rate designed to hook clients in but which then may lead to unwanted outcomes afterwards.
An important issue that teachers/administrations need to consider when they are conducting action research or research in an educational setting is that there is a difference between what will be done for research and what will be done as part of the researcher’s regular classroom/teaching/school activities. Researchers do not need a parent’s permission to implement novel classroom activities (e.g. reading out loud, working on mathematical word problems, reading certain novels, etc), but do need their permission if they intend to collect data from or about a child (e.g. how much students learn, grades, student’s feelings toward math problems, students feelings or opinions towards reading, etc.). Similarly, researchers do not need parent’s permission to look at a student’s record or to record their grades as their teacher; however researchers do need parental permission when they intend to use their records or grades as data as a researcher.
Researchers are encouraged to consult with their research advisors, their department’s representative on COPRS or the chair of COPRS if this distinction is not clear in a particular instance. Researchers should keep this distinction in mind in all phases of their research, but especially as they plan studies and write consent forms.
Parental Consent Letters
The IRB is uncomfortable with researchers sending home parental consent letters via students and then following up with a phone call. The concern is that when it comes to consent forms for research, (1) non-responding must be interpreted as declining to participate, (2) declining subjects must not have further contact and (3) potential subjects should not feel coerced by multiple contacts (especially by somebody connected to their child’s schooling).
Alternatives amenable to the committee would be: calling ahead alerting parents that such a letter/request is coming to them via their child (and then include a self-addressed stamped envelope for return of signed consent form), mailing letters/requests to parents and including a self-addressed stamped envelope, or some other method a researcher might suggest which allays these concerns.
Researchers wishing to utilize participant focus group sessions as part of their studies are asked to be particularly cognizant of consent and confidentiality issues as they pertain to multiple participants sharing potentially personal information within a group setting. See Focus Group Research Guidelines.
Door-to-door Solicitation and Surveys
In the townships of Cheltenham and Abington (and possibly others) researchers need to obtain a permit to go door to door surveying residents. Generally, a letter of application along with a copy of the IRB approval letter is all that is required to obtain such permission. Please check with the local authorities and verify the requirements before you submit your proposal to the IRB for approval.
Guidelines and Forms
*all documents must be submitted for the protocol to be reviewed
Note: Please use the new forms that have been posted below. They are the same forms that can be found on IRBNet.
Listed below are examples by the department of various consent and assent forms to aid you in the preparation of your submission. We hope that you will find this helpful.
Consent/Assent Form Examples
It is the expectation that anyone involved in human research will submit their protocols electronically on the IRBNet website.
How to Access IRBNet
- Go to the IRBNet website.
- Click on “New User Registration” if you are a new user, otherwise enter your username and password. View New User Registration Instructions video.
- Fill in all required “New User Account Information”, create a username and password.
- Type “Arcadia University” into the search field and click “Continue”
- Select Arcadia University from the list and click “continue”
- Enter the required information on the “Your Contact Information” page and click “continue”
- Review the information on the confirmation page. If any information is incorrect select “Edit” next to the category you need to change (either User Account Info or Affiliations).
- If the information is correct, click “Register”
- You will receive an activation email from IRBNet to the email address you provided.
- Click the activation link in the email.
- This will take you to the IRBNet site, log in at the top right-hand corner. Your registration is complete!
- New User Registration: Learn how to register for a new IRBNet profile.
- Initial Package Submission: Learn how to submit an initial package. These directions should also be followed for renewing a protocol that was approved under the old system.
- Subsequent Package Submission: Find out how to revise an existing submission. This presentation also explains how to submit:
- amendments/modifications to a package.
- continuing reviews.
- Go to IRBNet Training Resources website and login with username: arcadia, password: training.
- Under New User Registration Instructions, download the Training Energizer.
- Under Researcher / Study Coordinator Reference Materials, download the Training Energizers.
- Watch videos R1 and R2.
- Under New User Registration Instructions, download the Training Energizer.
- Go to the IRBNet Training site to practice and check out the environment for yourself. Use this username: arcadiaresearch1 and this password: training.
- Make sure to register on irbnet.org and NOT on training.irbnet.org.
*IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO SEE THE ARCADIA UNIVERSITY FORMS, MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE LOGGED INTO irbnet.org AND NOT training.irbnet.org.*
Please direct all IRBNet help requests to the OSRP/COPRS Senior Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Qualtrics is available for use by students, faculty, and staff of Arcadia University. Student use is limited to official university activities such as coursework/research under supervision of faculty members or student activities under the supervision of student life staff. In addition to the site license, the following add-ons were purchased: Salesforce Integration, Instructure Integration, and SMS Integration (50,000 text messages).
You can log into Qualtrics and use your Arcadia credentials. If you are already logged into MyArcadia, then you will be asked to either create Qualtrics account or choose the existing one. If you previously had Qualtrics account, the system will perform an automatic migration.
Use of other survey platforms
The university made a substantial effort to identify a platform which is user-friendly and is widely utilized by other institutions. Furthermore, Qualtrics came highly recommended by Arcadia faculty. Therefore, no other survey platforms will be purchased by the university.
Qualtrics Support has made available a step-by-step guide for learning the basics. Qualtrics Support also offers several options for client training including webinars and virtual training.
If you have questions about Qualtrics user accounts please contact:
Karen Dudley (Russo), OSRP/COPRS Senior Coordinator
Please contact Arcadia IT if you are having trouble logging into Qualtrics
The Qualtrics Support team is also available to answer product related questions:
- Qualtrics Support Website
- U.S Qualtrics Support team: +1 800 340 9194
All users will be required to obtain permission from the designated approver of a college, school, or administrative department before the survey is distributed. It’s important to locate the approver for your administrative unit first. When the survey is ready for distribution, the user will be redirected to the page to select the name of the designated approver for the specific administrative unit.
Human Subjects Research
Please note that research involving human subject participants must be approved by the Institutional Review Board for the survey to be distributed. IRB guidelines that govern the approval of the human subject research could be found at the IRB Guidelines and Forms section.
Karen Russo, OSRP/COPRS Senior Coordinator, is authorized to provide approval for the distribution of surveys associated with the IRB approved protocols. Surveys which do not require IRB approval are subject to approval procedures within respective colleges, schools, and administrative units. Approvers from each of these units are responsible to follow these procedures.