This is the SIS Web site for compliance with U.S. federal regulations and American University guidelines regarding the protection of human subjects in academic research. It has been set up to provide the information and forms you need prior to the commencement of your research. The aim is to promote scholarly research that is ethical and safe for both researcher and research subjects. We hope that the guidelines presented here will help to clarify some of the issues you must consider when preparing your research project design.
You are responsible for being fully informed about professional research ethics and the legal implications of your specific research project before you begin. If this is your first proposal involving human subjects research, then you are strongly advised to read The Student’s Guide to Research Ethics by Paul Oliver (New York: Open University Press, 2004). It is available as an e-book on line through www.ebrary.com
We will do everything possible to expedite your IRB requests. Remember, however, that in some cases your forms must be reviewed (sequentially) at both the SIS and University levels. This requires additional time, especially since the University IRB meets only once a month. Therefore, it is important for you to allow sufficient time to clear your proposed project through the entire institutional review board process, if necessary. Keep in mind that your proposal can be reviewed more quickly if you (1) read the information on this web site carefully before sending inquiries to the SIS IRB Representative and (2) provide a complete and clear description of your proposed research when you first submit your forms.
The point-of-contact for human subjects research carried out by SIS students and faculty is the SIS IRB Representative, Professor Susan Shepler. Please feel free to contact her AFTER you first take the following IRB Journey: