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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Human Subjects Research?

"Research" refers to a systematic investigation designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge. This usually implies collection and analysis of data the researcher hopes to report in a scientific publication or at a professional meeting, but that isn't always the case. "Human subject research" is research where the investigator obtains from a living human individual (1) data through intervention or interaction with the individual; OR (2) identifiable private information.

How do I know if my research project needs to be reviewed?

ALL research involving human subjects must be reviewed by the Human Subject Review Committee before research can begin.

Are there any examples of activities that don't need to be reviewed?

The following are specifically excluded from the definition of Human Subject Research and do not need to be reviewed by this committee:

  • interviews used to provide quotes or singe illustrative statements, such as those used in journalism;
  • gathering of information from a person to elucidate a particular item (or items) in a museum collection;
  • gathering of information from a person to assess suitability for and/or supplement a public program or cultural performance; or
  • survey procedures, interview procedures, or observations of public behavior that are conducted for Millsaps internal purposes (program evaluation) only, the results of which will not be published or presented in a public setting (e.g., at conferences or professional meetings).

If I am just talking to people and there are no experiments or clinical trials, do I need human subjects approval?

Yes, federal regulations define human subjects research to broadly cover interactions as well as interventions with human subjects for research purposes. Surveys, interviews, questionnaires, oral history interviews, etc., are all covered by the federal regulations. Approval must be obtained prior to beginning any research.

If I have additional questions or need help completing an application to have my research reviewed by the committee, who do I contact?

If you have additional questions or need help with forms, please contact Dr. Kathryn Hahn (Kathryn.Hahn@millsaps.edu).

A complete research submission includes:

  • proposal form;
  • informed consent;
  • debriefing form;
  • proof of IRB/ethics training;
  • any additional materials such as interview questions, surveys, etc that will be administered to the participants.