Review of Classroom Research Activities
March 17, 2004
UMES Institutional Review Board (IRB) position on required “classroom activities” for the purpose of learning how to conduct research
Research is defined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as “a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge.” (45 CFR 46)
Therefore, the UMES IRB interpretation of research regarding “classroom activities,” such as surveys, interviews, and observations, for example, which involve human subjects and which are designed for students to “learn how to” conduct research and NOT for the purpose of “developing or contributing to generalizable knowledge” (i.e., not used for any future outside-of-class publications or presentations), DO NOT meet the definition of research and, therefore, DO NOT fall under the oversight of the UMES IRB. This interpretation of “classroom activities” does not apply to data being collected for undergraduate or graduate theses, dissertations, or other formal research projects. However, if the principal investigator believes that there is even the slightest chance that the collected data will be used in a future research project or presentation, then IRB review should be conducted prior to beginning any aspect of the project. Moreover, this interpretation may not apply if unprotected populations (e.g., children or prisoners) serve as subjects/participants.
For further questions or clarification, please contact the Chair of the UMES IRB, Dr. Clayton Faubion at 410.651.6379. For other information regarding research involving human subjects and the IRB process, please visit the UMES IRB website.