Research with Human Subjects

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The University of Texas at Austin has one Institutional Review Board (IRB) responsible for conducting initial and continuing reviews and providing oversight for all research activities involving the use of human subjects performed on the campus or at any location under the purview of The University of Texas at Austin. All research projects involving human participants conducted by faculty, staff, or students associated with The University of Texas at Austin must receive IRB approval prior to initiating the research. The IRB typically approves projects for one year, thereafter conducting annual reviews. The IRB aims to assist investigators to develop and implement practical strategies and solutions that uphold the protection of research subjects' rights and welfare. The IRB Human Subjects Research Web site provides detailed information about the IRB application and review process required by The University of Texas at Austin. Failure to obtain the appropriate IRB approval when conducting research with human subjects may result in the invalidation of your research data which may delay and, in some cases, prevent your graduation.

For thesis and dissertation research involving human subjects, graduate students may illustrate Institutional Review Board (IRB) ethical approval by any of these options:

  • The student may provide the IRB approval letter with the student's name listed as a Principal Investigator (PI); or
  • If the student was involved in human subject research, but their name is not listed as PI, the faculty member listed as PI may provide a letter confirming the student's involvement in the research and attach the approval letter for confirmation of IRB approval; or
  • If the student was granted IRB approval prior to the implementation of the Office of Research Support's submission system (IRBaccess) then the student may submit the "Application for Exemption Form" which has the Departmental Review Committee/Chair (DRC) signature.

The Statement of Research with Human Participants form and copies of required approval letters must be submitted to the Graduate School on or before final submission of the thesis or dissertation.

What Constitutes Human Subjects Research? Does this apply to me?

Human subjects research involves a systematic investigation designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge. It involves collecting information about living individuals through intervention or interaction with them as well as from individually identifiable information. Examples include interviews, surveys, observations, previously collected data that includes identifiable information, and collecting private information about a person that was not originally intended to be made public, e.g., medical records and school records.

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