Institutional Review Board (IRB)

The WSU Institutional Review Board (IRB) facilitates research involving human subjects conducted by WSU faculty, staff, and students, while protecting subjects’ rights and welfare during their participation.

IRB processes are based on federal, state, local, and WSU regulations and policies. The IRB upholds two broad standards:

  • Human subjects are not placed at undue risk
  • They give un-coerced and informed consent to their participation

Faculty members from various disciplines, plus a community representative and prisoner advocate, make up the WSU IRB.

The IRB chair is Dr. Kimberly Langer, Associate Professor, Rochester Graduate Nursing.

The Human Protections Administrator is Brett Ayers, Director, Grants and Sponsored Projects.

Does My Study Need IRB Approval?

All scholarship and research involving human subjects must be approved by the IRB before research activities begin.

  • Does your study involve human subjects? Human subjects are living individuals about whom an investigator obtains information or specimens through intervention or interaction and uses, studies, or analyzes the information or bio-specimens.
  • Does your study meet the definition of research? Research a “systematic investigations, including development, testing, and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge.”
  • Is there an intent to publish or disseminate results outside the classroom – now, or in the future?

Unsure if your study involves human subjects research and needs IRB approval? Contact Brett Ayers for guidance.

IRB Review Process

Review the following IRB review process steps.


Complete the mandatory Human Subjects Education Module (HSEM)

The first thing you need to do is complete the mandatory Human Subjects Education Module (HSEM) (PDF).

For a visual walkthrough of completing this module, watch these video instructions.


Determine the level of IRB review for your study

All human subjects research must be approved by IRB before the study may begin.

Using U.S. Department of Health & Human Services guidelines, figure out the level of IRB review for your study.

Research protocols will fall into one of three review categories, depending on risk and subject demographic.

These categories include exempt, expedited, and full board review.


Register in IRBNet

Register in IRBNet which is used to manage package submission and review.

Learn how to do everything in IRBNet by reviewing these guidelines (PDF) or by watching the IRBNet Submission Process video.


Complete the protocol package

Gather all the documentation needed for review and complete your protocol package.

Need some guidance on what to include? We've got your back. Check out our helpful checklist (PDF).


Submit your protocol package

Brett Ayers, Human Protections Administrator, will screen your protocol package and notify you if anything is missing.

Then he'll forward it for review when it's complete.

You'll be notified when the review is complete. Turnaround time for exempt and expedited reviews is typically five working days.


Follow-up on your decision letter

Read your decision letter in IRBNet and follow the instructions for researcher responsibilities, required modifications, and reporting requirements.


Principal Investigators are responsible for communicating changes to IRB

Principal Investigators must notify the IRB of any modifications in the protocol, changes in the treatment of human subjects, unanticipated problems, or unexpected harm to subjects, using the Continuing Review/Progress Report (PDF).