Guidelines for Research Involving Human Subjects (IRB Approval)
Under Federal regulations and University policy, all researchers who conduct research—including those completing master's theses and doctoral dissertations or final projects—that involves human subjects or materials of human origin must submit an application to the Institutional Review Board (IRB), which reviews all research protocols on behalf of IU's Human Subjects Office.
Approval of the research protocol must be in place before the researcher begins data collection. If you do not receive IRB approval for your project prior to beginning data collection, and keep your approval current during the entire time that you collect and analyze data, your project may not receive approval by the Graduate School (for PhD dissertations) or JSoM (for MME theses, DME dissertations, and DM final projects). Similarly, many academic journals will not publish research conducted without IRB approval.
Here are examples of the kinds of research requiring IRB approval:
- Interviews, telephone, or mail surveys
- Behavioral or educational testing
- Observation of individual or group behavior
- Collection of blood (or other biologic) samples
- Study of existing data, documents, and archives on databases
Case studies involving only one subject (such as an interview of a single composer or professional musician) are not considered to be systematic investigations and thus do not require IRB approval.
For Music Education majors, students submit that documentation directly to the Music Education department and not to the Music Graduate Office.
If you are uncertain if your proposed topic is subject to IRB approval, contact the Music Graduate Office (musgrad AT indiana.edu; 855-1738) and make an appointment to speak with the director of graduate studies, or contact the Office of Human Subjects directly.
The IRB requires that there be a faculty sponsor for student-led research and that the faculty sponsor be listed as the Principal Investigator (PI) on the project, even if the student is actually conducting the research. Both the student and the faculty sponsor must have completed the Human Subjects Protection tutorial and test (you will need to complete the course for Social Behavioral Researcher, Stage 1.). If you are working with a member of the faculty who regularly conducts research on human subjects (for example, many members of the Music Education Department and the Speech and Hearing Department), they will probably have passed the test and can be the sponsor of your application. If you are working with a member of the faculty who does not usually conduct this kind of research, they may take the steps to pass it, or you may contact the director of graduate studies, David Cartledge, to see if he would be willing to be listed as PI. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Important: You must send your application to your faculty sponsor for review before submitting it to the IRB.
The Human Subjects Office held a presentation for JSoM students and faculty on Novemer 13, 2015 to describe the IRB Submissions process. You can click here to download the powerpoint presentation.