Institutional Review Board

Young Hall

The Institutional Review Board (IRB) protects the rights of human subjects participating in research and reduces the amount of risk the researcher and the College take regarding human subject research studies.

Members of the IRB

2017-18 Academic Year
Kathryn Bowles (chair)
Eva Cadavid
Stephanie Fabritius (ex officio)
Aaron Godlaski
Mykol Hamilton
Matthew Kassner
Patten Mahler
Drew Meadows (community representative)
KatieAnn Skogsberg


How do I submit an IRB application?

See details on the SUBMIT AN IRB APPLICATION web page.


Does my study need IRB review?

If you are gathering information from living humans, then yes, your study needs IRB review. While there are a number of research categories that are considered “exempt,” the researcher DOES NOT have authority to determine the category of his/her own research. Only the IRB can determine a project’s risk level and issue documents authorizing a human subject research study.


What is Human Subject Research?

Human subject research involves the collection of data from or about living human beings. Any scholarly discipline may involve human subject research. Sociological, anthropological, and psychological studies often involve human subjects; biological studies sometimes involve human subjects. Increasingly, research in the humanities, government, and economics involves human subjects. Checking with the Centre College IRB is the best way to ensure that the rights of research subjects are preserved and that your research is in compliance with the federal government’s Office for Human Research Protections guidelines.


What does the IRB do?

Prior to beginning the research project, the Principal Investigator (PI) must submit a research plan to the IRB. The IRB reviews the research plan to make sure that the study does not pose any unnecessary risk to the test subjects, the researcher, or the college. The research plan should detail potential risks and how risks will be minimized. Once a research plan is approved, the IRB issues an approval document and the study may begin.


What is risk?

Risk can take many forms: physical, psychological, legal, economic, or social. Some research involves neither risks nor discomfort, but rather violates a person’s expectations. Risks and violations of expected norms must be disclosed in the research plan. In many “low-risk” studies, the greatest risk to human subjects may be a loss of confidentiality. Researchers must outline in their research plan how they will safeguard the subjects’ identity.


Who needs to request IRB approval?

The following persons must receive approval from Centre’s IRB before beginning their human subject research:
• Anyone formally affiliated with Centre College (faculty, staff, students) who engages in scholarly research involving human subjects, either on or off campus.
• Researchers who are not affiliated with Centre College but who want to conduct research with human subjects on Centre’s campus, or want to collect data specifically from Centre College faculty, students, or staff.
• Anyone using data from human subjects that was collected at Centre College under the provisions of this document. For example, this includes graduates who intend to continue working with data that was originally collected as a student at Centre College.