Student Initiated Research
Student research, if it meets the definition of Human Subjects Research, is reviewed the same as any other type of Human Subjects Research at GW. Students are members of the GW community that are enrolled in courses as an undergraduate or graduate student, doctoral candidate, medical or law student, resident or intern.
Some frequently asked questions regarding student research:
- Who can serve as a Principal Investigator (PI)?
- Do my IRB forms need to be signed by the PI?
- How much time should I allow for an IRB approval of my research?
- Can I submit a hand written form?
- What does the study expiration date mean?
- Does a Quality Assurance/Quality Improvement (QA/QI) project that involves research need to be reviewed by an IRB?
- When can I get a Waiver?
- Is my research retrospective or prospective, and what is the difference?
All PIs must be Regular Service Faculty Members. The following MAY serve as PI: Full, Associate, or Assistant Professors; Research Scientists and Research Professors. The following MAY NOT serve as PI: Non-GW faculty (or other unaffiliated persons), Students (graduate or undergraduate), Residents, Fellows, Lecturers, Adjunct Professors, or limited service faculty. PI exceptions are permitted on a case-by-case basis; a PI Eligibility Exception Form must be completed and submitted to the OHR for review with the IRB Application, along with the proposed PI's CV, letter of appointment, and any other necessary supporting documents. Review "Policy: Principal Investigators (HRP-011)" for additional details or contact the OHR for additional information.
Yes, all IRB forms require the signature of the PI. Digital or electronic signatures are permitted. If the PI is unable to sign the document, the document must be sent to OHR from the PI's GWU email address with a statement describing the reason they are unable to sign the document and verifying that they have reviewed and approved of all submitted documents. The PI is asked to provide a physical signature as soon as possible in the future.
Additionally, all initial applications (new applications) require the signature of the PI and the PI's Department Chair (or the person to whom the PI reports).
If your PI has a MFA appointment, the initial submission must be signed by either Dr. Wasserman or Dr. Simon. Please see Donna Embersit on the 8th floor of the MFA to obtain one of their signatures. MFA faculty applications missing this required signature will not be processed.
We request that your Exempt or Expedited application and study materials be submitted to this office for review at a minimum of 4 weeks prior to your anticipated research start date. However, we cannot guarantee that all submissions will be approved in this timeframe, as the approval time is dependent on the completness of the application and complexity of the study. We cannot guarantee that we can accommodate your deadlines if you allow insuccifient time for IRB review. This approval timeframe assumes that all CITI training is complete, and all proper and completed paperwork has been submitted with the application. Missing information will delay the approval process.
Please note, some Schools and Departments have adopted their own policies and practices involving the submission of an IRB application. Please check with your PI and/or Department's Administrative office prior to submitting to our office to ensure you are within their guidelines. (GSEHD, SPHHS)
No, hand written forms are not accepted by OHR. All of our forms are downloadable word documents and must be typed. The signature of the PI and PI's Department Chair are the only acceptable hand written elements for our forms.
Does a Quality Assurance/Quality Improvement (QA/QI) project that involves research need to be reviewed by an IRB?
Yes, in some cases IRB review is needed if the project meets the definition of human subjects research. If your project involves research and a QA/QI component, use the standard IRB initial application form. If you are uncertain if your project qualifies as QA/QI project please contact OHR. Please also see the QA/QI Checklist
If your minimal risk study meets the criteria for either:
- waiver of documentation of consent (you would still obtain verbal consent)
- waiver of consent (no consent process; typically only granted in cases where you will not have contact with participants)
A study is not granted a waiver for convenience; you must provide justification for a waiver. Please see our Waivers of documentation and consent requirements and examples sheet for more information.
Retrospective research is information that is already collected (already exists-or is "on the shelf") prior to the study submission.
Prospective research is information that has not yet been documented or collected at the time of study submission.
Please review the following Retrospective vs Prospective information slides for what examples and more information.