2014 Webinar: Reviewing Student Research

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Institutional review boards (IRBs) at many academic institutions are reporting increases in the number of social and behavioral research protocols from graduate and undergraduate students. Challenges inherent in reviewing student research proposals include:

  • Identifying who is considered a student
  • Educating students and their advisors about the role of the IRB
  • Knowing and meeting regulatory requirements for student research
  • Approving protocols in time for students to complete the study within the time frame of the academic year
  • Streamlining the process of determining whether a study conducted by an undergraduate student is considered human subjects research 
  • Establishing whether there are additional institutional obligations

These and other considerations can put a strain on IRB resources at institutions with high volumes of student research. To increase efficiency, promote the growth of student research, and educate future generations about research with human subjects, University of Minnesota (UMN) and Oregon State University (OSU) set up dedicated IRBs for the review of student research. 

J. Michael Oakes, PhD, associate professor in the division of epidemiology, and co-director of the US Census Research Data Center at UMN, and Amy King, MPH, IRB coordinator at OSU, identified challenges inherent in working with student research, shared their experiences of setting up dedicated IRBs at their respective institutions and their goals for this endeavor, and discussed the best practices in place at OSU and UMN.

This intermediate-level webinar was of interest to IRB chairs, staff, and members who review social and behavioral research studies conducted by students. 


Amy King, MPH, is an IRB coordinator at Oregon State University (OSU). Ms. King’s career in research ethics began as an undergraduate student at the University of Wyoming, where she worked with the institution’s animal care and use program. She continued working with the institutional animal care and use committee during her graduate studies at OSU, where she received her Masters of Public Health degree with an emphasis on international health, and began working for the IRB after graduation. Ms. King has been a PRIM&R member since 2013 and is a current member of the PRIM&R Knowledge Center Advisory Group.

J. Michael Oakes, PhD, is an associate professor in the division of epidemiology, and co-director of the US Census Research Data Center, at the University of Minnesota (UMN). He co-chairs UMN’s HRPP and SBER and student research panels, and serves as the vice chair of the UMN COI committee. He is a fellow of the Minnesota Population Research Center, adjunct professor of sociology, and senior advisor to the Robert Wood Johnson’s Healthy Eating Research program. Michael’s professional interests center on statistical methodology, social epidemiology, and research ethics. He is an active researcher and frequent principal investigator on a wide variety of studies of methodological, health, and ethical problems. He has authored over 100 papers on issues at the intersection of social and medical sciences; his first text, Methods in Social Epidemiology, was released in 2006, and the second edition is due out later this year.

Certificates of Attendance

Certificates of attendance for the Reviewing Student Research: Best Practices and Future Directions webinar were made available at the conclusion of the webinar. To access the certificate, you must first complete the online evaluation. Such certificates are useful for obtaining continuing education (CE) credits (not Continuing Medical Education credits) from professional associations. Note that guidelines concerning CE credits may differ, and you should consult the appropriate professional association representative for further guidance.

If you would like to receive a certificate of attendance for a previous PRIM&R educational program, please email info@primr.org or call 617.423.4112, ext.0.

CE Credit for Certified IRB Professional (CIP®) Recertification
Webinar participants holding the CIP credential who wish to apply credits from Reviewing Student Research: Best Practices and Future Directions toward CIP recertification may submit the Certificate of Attendance they received upon completing the online evaluation as documentation of their participation. Participation in this 90-minute webinar counts as 1.5 CE credit hours.

For recertification by CE, CIPs must complete 30 documented hours of continuing education. At least 15 of the 30 hours must either carry credits issued by a recognized accrediting body or have received advanced recognition from the Council for Certification of IRB Professionals (CCIP). Credits from PRIM&R webinars have received such advance recognition, and may be counted towards these 15 hours.

Additional information about CIP recertification can be found here.