Ethics and Undergraduate Research

ethics_woodTraining our undergraduates to be ethical researchers is of the utmost importance. If your students are engaging in research with human subjects, then they need to complete CITI Online Training and work with their faculty advisor to complete an Institutional Review Board (IRB) form

If students are involved in research with animals, then you should consult the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).

If you are a faculty member doing a class project or assignment involving human subjects, the project may qualify for an exclusion from IRB requirements as long as the project meets the following criteria:

  1. No minors or vulnerable populations
  2. No more than minimal risk
  3. No deception
  4. No publication/presentation to an external audience
  5. No audio or video recording

More information on the distinction between class projects and research projects can be found here. Be sure to contact the IRB ( if you have questions about these guidelines. Please note especially that if you are at all planning to present and/or publish the work in any venue (e.g., Symposium of Student Scholars, professional conference, professional journal), then you must get IRB approval first. 

It is always good for students to go through the online CITI training in order to learn more about ethics and research. This training is free for students and only takes about 30 minutes. You can learn more about this training here