Research Ethics (IRB)

Institutional Review Board

The college-wide Institutional Review Board (IRB) is revitalizing our institutional review process for all research. The IRB is relevant to anyone associated with Prescott College who is conducting research, including students, faculty, staff, and administrators.

Prescott College’s focus on multispecies and multisystems ethical research is unique within Higher Education across the world. Where traditional research ethics are limited to consideration for human life and non-human laboratory test subjects, the Prescott College IRB employs a regenerative systems approach to the ethical review of research in alignment with our equality of concern for all participants and systems.

Since 2011, the Prescott College IRB has been redesigned with the mission of supporting research that gives consideration to all human and more-than-human participants. For example, in the field of environmental ethics, three areas of potentially entangled ethical consideration are anthropocentricism (human-centered), biocentricism (life-centered), and ecocentricism (ecological systems-centered).

This means that researchers must deliberately contemplate how the way they see the world impacts the research they conduct. They must consider such questions as: What kind of research relationships, or mutual entanglements (physical and/or psychological), may emerge for the researcher? What may emerge for the place-beings, living systems, and co-researchers (human as well as other than human?

The work of the Board will continue this living systems approach of creating a flexible, emergent, and engaging institutional review process, which are regenerative in nature. It is our goal to be responsive to the dynamic needs of the Prescott College research communities across programs and interests. Existing forms and new forms for researchers’ IRB involvement will be added to this site as they become available.

The Prescott College IRB welcomes inquiries and suggestions in its ongoing quest for socially and ecologically just language and procedures.

For questions or comments, please contact one of the active IRB Board Members:

Noël Cox Caniglia, Ph.D. (Chair); Alejandro Marquez, M.L.I.S.; Vicky Young, Ph.D.; Marna Hauk, Ph.D.; Doug Hulmes, M.S.; Mary Jackson, M.A.; Camille Smith, M.A.; Teresa Bertossi, M.S.; Jeffery Kirkendall, M.C.; Deborah Pardee, Ph.D.; Les McAllan, Ph.D.

Members in Recess: Maurie Lung, M.A.; Ellen Abell, Ed.D.

IRB Process

Undergraduate students should discuss research and institutional review with their faculty, mentors, or advisors. Class instructors may fill out the Class Project Proposal Form

  1. Review the Graduate and PhD Process Flow Charts to understand the graduate level IRB review process.
  2. Review the Undergraduate Process Flow Chart to understand the graduate level IRB review process.
  3. Complete the National Institute of Health (NIH) training on protecting human research participants. Successful completion of this training is a necessary step in the IRB process. Record your training certificate number.
  4. Read and discuss the 20 Questions with a peer, mentor, or faculty member. These questions will help you become aware of issues to consider when doing research. It is helpful to write down your answers to the questions in preparation for completing the IRB research proposal form.
  5. Review the Exemption Checklist to see whether your research might be exempt from the IRB review process. Your IRB committee (in the case of Limited-Residency Master of Arts students, your core faculty and graduate mentor) will determine whether or not your research is exempt.
  6. Complete the  IRB Proposal Review Form utilizing the information you have gained from coursework, instructors/mentors, your core faculty, peers and the above steps. Ask your instructor/mentor/core faculty if you have questions when completing the form. Draft and revise related research forms, including consent forms and research instruments.
  7. When your proposal has been received, please refer back to the  Graduate and PhD Process Flow Charts   or Undergraduate Process Flow Chart  for your program to ensure that all stages of the review process are being completed.

Links Relating to the IRB Process

American Psychological Association (APA) information regarding the citation of electronic resources in this particular style format. Please consult the style format appropriate to your own field if it is not APA.

APA FAQ – Web resource for questions about APA style and function of expression. Please consult the style format appropriate to your own field if it is not APA.

Office of Human Research Protection, US Department of Health and Human Services , US Department of Health and Human Services – Web source for most information you need with regard to protection of human subjects when conducting research.

Core Documents

Sample Documents