Institutional Review Board

All institutions applying for federal research funds must have Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) with clearly defined policies and procedures ensuring that grant-funded research activities protect human subjects.  Upon being awarded federal funds, principal investigators and/or project directors whose activities involve research on human subjects must complete required forms and submit the project for IRB review and approval before any research on human subjects is allowed to commence.

Important Links

Training in Protecting Human Research Participants

Faculty and students at GCCCC may utilize human subjects from time to time in conducting research. Safeguarding the rights and welfare of human subjects is of prime concern to Garden City Community College. All personnel engaged in any given study are accountable for any actions or inactions that might contribute to injury of any persons placed at risk. The college will maintain such reviews as necessary to minimize the risks of injury to human subjects and to insure protection of their rights and welfare. The fundamental responsibilities outlined above are meant to suggest a preventive attitude with respect to potential injury to human subjects at risk. Any request for research submitted to the GCCC IRB should be accompanied with a certification of training in Protecting Human Research Participants. Principal investigators may complete free online NIH training as preparation to conduct research with human subjects. Training takes approximately one to two hours. Certificates are awarded for completion.
The course is available at:

Getting Started

As a principal investigator or project director, you want your protocol reviewed in a timely manner. To ensure that this occurs, the Office for Human Research Protections of the Department of Health and Human Services provides a decision tree to help you determine:

  • Is my project considered research?
  • Does my research activity have to be reviewed by the IRB? 
  • Can the review go through the expedited process?
  • Does my project involve human subjects?
  • Does my project involve only minimal risk?
    • According to federal regulations, principal investigators have an obligation to protect persons from harm by maximizing anticipated benefits and minimizing possible risks of harm.
  • Can informed consent be waived?
    • Informed consent helps assure that prospective human subjects will understand the nature of the research and can knowledgeably and voluntarily decide whether or not to participate. Consent forms tell subjects they are free to withdraw from participation at any time, as well as convey other critical information; see informed consent guidelines listed below.

If answers to these questions indicate that your project requires approval by the IRB, review your protocol for completeness prior to submission:

  • All required forms must be complete and correctly filled out and enrollment criteria must be clearly and completely described
  • If your protocol will involve surveys, provide the committee with the actual instrument(s) to be used (current, up-to-date copies must be included with your submission)
  • The process of obtaining informed consent must be fully and clearly described
  • Subjects must be fully informed that this is research and the purpose of the research, and must be aware of any and all risks, benefits, or costs to them
  • Provide the curriculum vitae of the Principal Investigator/Project Director

Complete and clearly written applications are reviewed more quickly. Each time a question must be asked or a revision made, the process will be delayed. If you have questions, please consult with the IRB Chair before making your submission.

IRBs must adhere to federal regulations found in the Code of Federal Regulations (Title 45 Part 46, Protection of Human Subjects).   Some basic definitions and informed consent guidelines are listed below to assist researchers in understanding these regulations.


Published in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 45 
Public Welfare Department of Health and Human Services 
Part 46 Protection of Human Subjects

Research: "A systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge."

Human Subject: "Human subject means 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. Private information includes information about behavior that occurs in a context in which an individual can reasonably expect that no observation or recording is taking place, and information which has been provided for specific purposes by an individual and which the individual can reasonably expect will not be made public (for example, a medical record). Private information must be individually identifiable (i.e., the identity of the subject is or may readily be ascertained by the investigator or associated with the information) in order for obtaining the information to constitute research involving human subjects.

Minimal risk: 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.

Informed Consent Guidelines

The regulations regarding informed consent are complex. Generally speaking, research subjects need to have sufficient information on the project in which they are being asked to become involved, and should voluntarily agree to participate. The information given to the prospective subjects or their representatives needs to be in language they can understand. For those less than 18 years of age, the researcher must obtain the informed consent of parents or legal guardians.

The informed consent must include the following in sequential order and in language which the participants can understand:

  1. Statement of purpose of the study.
  2. Short description of methodology and duration of participant involvement.
  3. Statement of risks/benefits to the participants.
  4. Statement of data confidentiality.
  5. Statement regarding the right of the participant to withdraw from the study at any time without negative consequences.
  6. An offer to answer any questions the participant may have.
  7. Contact information of all Principal Investigators, and also contact information for the GCCC IRB Chair.
  8. Line for signature of participants and/or parents or legal guardian except for questionnaire research in which return of questionnaire gives implied consent.
  9. Statement that participant is 18 years of age or older unless parent or legal guardian has given consent.

In situations where participants will be deceived, items 1 and 2 are omitted and participants are told (on the signed form) that disclosure of the purpose and/or methodology could bias the outcome of the study. In this case, after the study is complete, each participant must be presented with a description of the purpose and methodology as carried out and this document must be signed by the participants "after the fact" in order to guarantee informed consent.

Forms and Procedures

Some of the forms are designed to be completed online.  Fill in the active fields and save a copy to your computer.  Print the completed form, sign and date it, and send to the Chair of the IRB:

Exempt Review                                            Protocol Review

Expedited Review                                        Continuing Review

Full Review                                                  Project Completion Report

Sample Informed Consent                           GCCC Student Research