Delaware County Community College, Serving Delaware and Chester Counties

Information about IRB

Types of Approval

The IRB approves two kinds of research: exempt research and non-exempt research. If you are planning to submit a proposal, please review the exemption categories to choose your research designation.  If your study does not meet any of the criteria specified for exempt research, it should be considered as non-exempt. Please note that it is the Review Board which ultimately decides the research designation. You are applying to have your research designated under the selected category. This means that, while you may think that your research is exempt, you stiill have to complete the application below.

Exemption Categories

  • Category 1: Research conducted in established or commonly accepted educational settings, involving normal educational practices, such as (a) research on regular and special education instructional strategies, or (b) research on the effectiveness or the comparison among instructional techniques, curricula, or classroom management methods.
  • Category 2: Research involving the use of educational tests (cognitive, diagnostic, aptitude, achievement), survey procedures, interview procedures or observation of public behavior, unless: (a) information obtained is recorded in such a manner that human subjects can be identified, directly or through identifiers linked to the subjects; and (b) any disclosure of the human subjects’ responses outside the research could reasonably place the subjects at risk of criminal or civil liability or be damaging to the subjects’ financial standing, employability, or reputation.
  • Category 3: Research involving the use of educational tests (cognitive, diagnostic, aptitude, achievement), survey procedures, interview procedures, or observation of public behavior that is not exempt under paragraph (2) if: (a) the human subjects are elected or appointed public officials or candidates for public office; or(b) the research is conducted for the Department of Justice under Federal statute 42 U.S.C. 3789g, or for the National Center for Education Statistics under Federal statute 20 U.S.C. 12213-1, which provide certain legal protections and requirements for confidentiality.
  • Category 4: Research involving the collection or study of existing data, documents, records, pathological specimens, or diagnostic specimens, if these sources are publicly available or if the information is recorded by the investigator in such a manner that subjects cannot be identified, directly or through identifiers linked to the subjects.
  • Category 5: Research and demonstration projects which are conducted by or subject to the approval of department or agency heads, and which are designed to study, evaluate, or otherwise examine: (a) public benefit or service programs; (b) procedures for obtaining benefits or services under those programs; (c) possible changes in or alternatives to those programs or procedures; or (d) possible changes in methods or levels of payment for benefits or services under those programs.
  • Category 6: Taste and food quality evaluation and consumer acceptance studies, if (a) wholesome foods without additives are consumed or (b) a food is consumed that contains a food ingredient at or below the level and for a use found to be safe, or agricultural chemical or environmental contaminant at or below the level found to be safe, by the Food and Drug Administration or approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Conflict of Interest Disclosure

Conflicts of interest may occur when an investigator's research responsibilities compete with his or her private interests, such as financial interests, raising questions of objectivity and improper gain.  Investigators are encouraged to disclose any situation that could conceivably be viewed as a conflict of interest or a reportable financial interest, and to favor more rather than less disclosure. A conflict of interest in research does not necessarily mean that the proposal will not be approved; it simply requires the IRB to ensure that the interest of the investigator does not supersede the welfare of the subjects.

For those conducting a survey ONLY

For those doing any other research

Timeline for Approval

Ordinarily the researcher will be notified concerning the status of the request within fourteen working days after the proposal is received. If possible, approval or denial will be made at that time. If a delay is necessary, an appropriate timeline will be negotiated with the researcher. If a request is denied, the notification will include the reason(s) for the denial. A revised proposal, or revised sections, may be submitted for reconsideration.

Where to submit your proposal

All proposals, and supporting documents, must be submitted electronically. Completed documents should be sent to Dr. Chris Tokpah. He can be emailed here. If you need to reach him by phone, please call 610-359-5106.