or staff researchers affiliated with USF who wish to conduct research at
the University of San Francisco that involves human subjects are
required to gain approval before they can proceed with their research.
The approval process is outlined below and must be fully completed by
all researchers except those who are affiliated with another educational
institution who have received approval by their institution's review
board for the protection of human subjects. All outside researchers are
required to obtain permission directly from the Provost before beginning
Please note that outside researchers do not need USF IRB
approval, only approval from their home institution's IRB and the USF
Provost, and the *FERPA coordinator (if applicable).
Most questions regarding the protection of human subjects
are addressed at the USF Institutional Review Board for the Protection
of Human Subjects (IRBPHS) website, and forms are available there
also. Questions can also be addressed by contacting the Institutional
Review Board office at IRBPHS@usfca.edu or extension x6091. The office
is located in the Education Building, Room 007 in the Department of
- Submit an application for approval of the research
study, including a detailed plan for the protection of any human
subjects who will be participants in the research study, as well as the
full research protocol, to the USF Institutional Review Board for the
Protection of Human Subjects (IRBPHS). The procedures for obtaining USF
IRBPHS approval are detailed in the IRBPHS Manual, which is available
online for all interested parties.
- Approval must be obtained from the IRBPHS before the
study can begin. Until approval from the IRBPHS is given, subjects may
not be recruited or contacted for potential participation, or any data
collected. If such approval is not given, the study cannot be conducted.
- If the research study involves USF students as human
subjects, the University Registrar may also review the application for
compliance with the *Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
If the study is not in compliance with FERPA, the study cannot be
conducted. The IRBPHS chair will forward the IRB application to the
Registrar if FERPA clearance is required. The researcher does not need
to contact the Registrar separately.
- Please note that FERPA grants students significant
rights of access to their educational records. It also protects the
privacy of student records and requires the University to inform
students of all their rights and safeguards. Only material classified as
"directory" information can be released without student consent.
Directory information as defined by USF includes: the student's name,
school of enrollment, credit hour load, periods of enrollment, degree
awarded, honors, participation in athletic activities, weight and height
of athletic participants, major and minor fields, and dean's list.
Research that depends on use of non-directory information, such as
students' addresses, will - of necessity - require FERPA review and
probable alteration to the research plan in order to proceed.
- Research that involves only passive observation or
archival data (accessible to the public) does not require IRBPHS
approval. In these situations, no new information is obtained directly
from human subjects and identities are not revealed. Instructors who
require research (other than literature searches) as part of course
requirements should see the IRB website for guidelines on whether IRB
approval is required. Instructors and advisors are urged to contact the
IRB office at any time for consultation about student projects.
- If research subjects are to be obtained through any
external organization, written permission to access subjects must be
submitted with the IRB application.
- Once IRBPHS approval (and FERPA compliance approval,
if appropriate) has been obtained, data collection must be completed
within 12 months from the date of approval or a renewal application must
be submitted to the IRBPHS to continue with the study beyond the
approved time period.
- If the research study involves university employees
(faculty or staff) as research subjects, the researcher must obtain a
letter of permission from the Associate Vice President for Human
Resources (415-422-6707) who acknowledges and authorizes the research
that is to be conducted. This letter must be included with the
application that is submitted to the IRBPHS.
- If the research study involves classroom or
university department time and/or assistance, in addition to IRBPHS and
FERPA approval, the researcher must obtain the written permission of the
class instructor or department supervisor (as appropriate) before
proceeding with the actual study. Approval by the IRBPHS and FERPA
clearance do not require or obligate the instructor or supervisor to
give permission, as he or she retains the right to deny such permission.
- USF students, faculty, or staff members have the
right to refuse to participate in approved research studies. If USF
students, faculty, or staff members are involved as research subjects,
their individual permission is required before the researcher can
proceed. If they refuse to participate, they cannot be penalized or
inconvenienced in any manner for their refusal to participate.
- Any modification to the approved research protocol or
changes in instrumentation (including wording of items) must be
communicated in writing to the IRBPHS on a modification application,
which must be approved before any proposed changes/modifications are
- Researchers are required to report in writing to the
IRBPHS within ten (10) working days any adverse reactions or
complications on the part of participants in the study. A statement that
a subject may contact the IRBPHS with any questions or concerns must be
clearly delineated in the consent process prior to the collection of
data by the researcher. Interviews that are to be recorded by the
researcher are to be explicitly mentioned in the consent form given to
the research participant.