Institutional Review

Institutional Review Board

Research at fort lewis college

The Institutional Review Board (IRB) is an administrative body established by the College to implement the Code of Federal Regulations Established by the Office of Health and Human Services which provides guidance in protecting the rights and welfare of human subjects involved in research. The code of federal regulations guiding IRB policy can be found here: 45 CFR 46. The Institutional Review Board is assigned the task of providing information and establishing policies and procedures necessary to insure that human subjects participating in research activities conducted by faculty, staff and students at Fort Lewis College are protected from undue risks and deprivation of personal rights and dignity.

In accordance with the Code of Federal Regulations the IRB has the authority to approve, require modifications in, or disapprove all research activities that fall within its jurisdiction as specified by both the federal regulations and local institutional policy.

Human subject research may fall into one of three categories: exempt, expedited review, and full review. Preliminarily determine the type of review for which your project would qualify (the final determination rests with the IRB and any project may be referred to the IRB for full review at a regularly convened meeting). If you have questions about the type of review for which your project will qualify, call an IRB representative.


What research requires review?

Research is defined by federal law 45 CFR 46 as “means a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge.”  

A “systematic investigation” is any methodical collection of data. This includes interviews, surveys, tests, observations, or other experiments, regardless of content, even if it is a pilot study.

Research is designed to “contribute to generalizable knowledge,” when it is aimed at adding something new to a field of knowledge (e.g., the field of psychology, the field of biology), and when the results of the research are made publicly available, either through publication or through a presentation (such as a senior thesis poster session or a conference). 

A research project is considered to have human subjects if it involves “a living individual about whom an investigator . . . obtains data through intervention or interaction with the individual or identifiable private information.” §46.102

The following academic and educational activities are subject to prior review and approval by the Fort Lewis College (FLC) Institutional Review Board (IRB):

  • Any collection and/or documentation of information from an identifiable individual or any collection of information about an identifiable individual that is not already publicly available, the results of which will be made public in some way (for example, through written publications, posters and oral presentations).  Such activities include but are not limited to:
    • Quantitative, qualitative, and correlational research involving human participants;
    • Oral histories, interviews (ethnographic or other kinds), surveys, and participant observations.