Research Approval Procedure

Introduction

The purpose of this procedure is to protect subjects involved in research at SCC against injury and to protect the college from exposure to liability due to actions by SCC members or their agents who have been authorized by the college to engage in a research project. This procedure identifies those conditions in which the primary research investigator (PRI) will be required to: reduce the risk of harm (physically and mentally) to all subjects participating in the research study to the greatest extent possible; specify how subjects' privacy rights will be guaranteed; develop procedures for informed consent; and provide research practices that comply with HEW's Belmont guidelines, the American Psychological Association Standards or other professional standards and the college's own internal operating procedures.

I. Exempted Research

Research activities that are exempt from this procedure include:

  1. Research activities that are part of a formal SCC class assignment involving only the students enrolled in that particular class, or

  2. Research involving the use of educational tests (i.e., cognitive, diagnostic, aptitude and achievement tests), survey procedures, etc., for purposes of institutional program and general education assessment.

It is understood that the above exemptions and research activities conducted for the purpose of providing formal institutional research and reporting data to SCC administrators and staff will follow the same ethical and human subject principles as specified in this procedure.

II. Research Proposal Application (RPA) Specifications

For research not meeting the exemption clause above, a Research Proposal Application (RPA) will be submitted to the Institutional Research and Effectiveness (IRE) Department, located in SSB 2104. Data acquisition may not proceed until written approval is granted by IRE. One of two levels of RPA documentation (full or partial) must be submitted, depending upon the type of research that is being proposed.

For the purpose of this procedure, research projects have been classified into three types:

  1. Invasive Research: The creation of an experimental condition in which the PRI uses an intervention strategy to carry out the research project. This type of research project contains the greatest amount of risk to the subject. Such studies will typically split subjects into experimental and control groups in order to implement different sets of stimuli in order to observe, explain and predict human responses.
  2. Non-Invasive Research: This type of research project does not require experimental intervention on the part of the researcher. However, some type of personal interaction will take place between the researcher(s) and subjects. Typically, this type of research project includes educational tests, surveys or focus group studies.
  3. Unobtrusive Research: This research project includes the collection of data in which there is no interaction between the researcher and the subject, and the subject is not aware of any recording of data when he/she engages in the behavior that is being observed. Research projects that use pre-existing data bases, current or archived records, and artifact/portfolio rubrics, etc., constitute this type of research project.

Fully Documented RPAs

Except for research that has been exempted, a fully documented RPA must be submitted by any individual planning to conduct an Invasive Research project. See types of projects defined above. When submitting a full RPA, the PRI needs to address all of the following:

  • Subjects' risk.

  • Subjects' privacy.

  • A consent statement informing the subjects of the study that they have a right to withdraw from the study at any time.

  • Statements addressing all potential HEW (Belmont) and American Psychological Association (APA) guidelines that are appropriate.

  • Statements addressing how the PRI intends to report the study's findings and to whom.

  • Include copies of survey instruments, questionnaires, interview protocols or other research instruments.

Partially Documented RPAs

Only partial RPAs are required for Non-Invasive and Unobtrusive Research projects as stipulated below:

Non-Invasive Research projects must address the following research concerns:

  1. Subjects' privacy.

  2. A consent statement informing the subjects of the study that they have the right to withdraw from the study at any time.

  3. Statements addressing all potential HEW (Belmont) and American Psychological Association (APA) guidelines that may be of concern.

  4. Statements addressing how the PRI intends to report the study's findings and to whom.

  5. Include copies of survey instruments, questionnaires, interview protocols or other research instruments.


Unobtrusive Research projects must address the following research concerns:

  1. Subjects' privacy.
  2. Statements addressing all potential HEW (Belmont) and American Psychological Association (APA) guidelines that may be of concern.
  3. Statements addressing how the PRI intends to report the study's findings and to whom.
  4. Include copies of survey instruments, questionnaires, interview protocols or other research instrument.


The PRI will also provide to the Institutional Research Department, if requested, all data sets that will be created from the study. The college may also ask the PRI to waive any proprietary ownership rights to the data collected for the project.

III. Review Process

  1. The PRI will prepare the RPA according to the guidelines stated above and submit it to Institutional Research and Effectiveness (IRE).
  2. The director of the Institutional Research and Effectiveness (IRE) will review the RPA.
  3. After completing this review, the IRE director will advise the PRI if any additional research concerns should be addressed in the RPA before granting final approval.
  4. The decision to approve or deny the RPA will be made by the IRE director according to this procedure. The PRI will be notified in a timely manner.
  5. In the event that an RPA is denied, the PRI has the option to either:
    1. Resubmit a revised RPA that addresses the concerns raised by the IRE director, or
    2. Appeal the denied decision of the IRE director to a committee composed of SCC's vice presidents for Academic and Student Affairs; Technology, Research, and Planning; and Administrative Services, whose decision will be final.

IV. Terminology As Used in This Procedure:

Informed Consent
Permission given when the subject or authorized representative agrees to participate in the research project after having been informed of the procedures involved. The subject is able to exercise freedom or choice without undue inducement, force, fraud, deceit, duress or other form of coercion. 

Interaction
Communication or interpersonal contact between the researcher and subject.

Intervention
Physical and psychological procedures by which data are gathered, or manipulation of the subject or the subject's environment, performed for research purposes.


IRE
The Institutional Research and Effectiveness Department at St. Charles Community College.

PRI
Primary Research Investigator, the person seeking approval to conduct the proposed research project.

Privacy
Issues of confidentiality and anonymity where procedures are designed to safeguard data on subjects and to avoid identification of subjects by name, etc., on the records (e.g., questionnaires) containing such data.

Research
A systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation designed to develop or contribute to the development of knowledge.

Risk
Degree to which anticipated harm to the subjects of a proposed research project exceeds that which is encountered in daily life (or during the performance of routine physical or psychological examination or tests).

RPA
Research Proposal Application, the documentation submitted for approval of the research project, including official forms.

Subject
A living individual about whom the PRI (whether professional, employee or student) conducting research obtains data through intervention or interaction with the individual, or through identifiable private information regardless of its source.

Attachments:

  1. RPA Form
  2. Subject Consent Form
  3. HEW's Belmont Guidelines
  4. The American Psychological Association Guidelines