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Frequently Asked Questions

What is an IRB, and what does it do?

The Institutional Review Board (IRB) reviews research with human subjects. The purpose is to ensure that all research using human subjects meets ethical, institutional, and federal guidelines regarding protection of subjects and reduction of risk. The IRB can approve, require modification, or disapprove all research activities involving human participants on campus.

Do I need to submit an application to the Institutional Review Board (IRB)?

If you are conducting systematic research on human subjects as a student, staff, administrator, or faculty member, you need to submit an application form to the MSSU IRB.

What is systematic research?

Systematic research is defined as “a systematic investigation, including research development, testing, and evaluation, designed to contribute to generalizable knowledge” (Title 45 Code of Federal Regulation, Part 46).

What do I need to do?

You need to complete the IRB application process via the IRBNet online workflow suite. You can download MSSU's application documents once logged into the system. You will need to submit the application form with supporting materials including, your project description, consent forms, surveys, debriefing, etc., to your IRBNet package. See below for more information on IRBNet. 

What happens then?

Depending on the level of risk and the population studied, the project may 1) require a full review by the IRB committee, 2) be allowed an expedited review by a departmental reviewer and one member of the university IRB committee, or 3) be exempt from a full or expedited review, only requiring approval from one departmental reviewer.

When can I start my research?

You must receive IRB approval before collecting any data using human subjects.

Where do I find the IRB application?

IRB Applications are submitted using the IRBNet online workflow system. To submit an IRB Application please go to: If you are a new user you will need to complete the new user registration process. Once registered, you will be able to submit your IRB Application and all supporting documents via the IRBNet system. IRBNet also contains MSSU's documents and forms that need to be included in your application. You may download these documents from IRBNet once logged into the system.  

The MSSU IRB has created a user manual to get researchers acquainted with the process. You can download the manual here

What Should I Upload/Include in the IRB Application?

  • Obtain CITI Training.
  • Download the IRB application from IRBNet.
  • Complete the entire IRB application. Include the Informed Consent, Survey Materials, Stimuli/Treatment, Debriefing Materials, and Scripts for Informed Consent and Debriefing. Everything presented to the participants must be uploaded. A sample of the presented stimuli will not be accepted. These documents should be uploaded to IRBNet with your package. 
  • Upload the IRB Application Form to IRBnet.
  • Upload Training Credentials to IRBnet. These credentials include but are not limited to CITI training and IACUC training.
  • Link your credentials to the project within IRBNet; uploading credential to your profile is not enough, they must be linked to your package.
  • If you are a student, your faculty adviser must also link their training credentials to you package before submission. 
  • Share the project with your faculty adviser and everyone else involved in completing the study. Give these people the appropriate level of access (Read-only, Full, or Write Access). Remember, those who need to sign the package need to have the proper permissions. 
  • Have everyone involved in the study sign the package.
  • Lock the package and wait for comments from reviewers.

I need help completing my application. Where do I go?

See the resources called “Application Completion Guidelines and Resources” on this webpage, or contact a member of the IRB found under “Contact Us.”