The Human Research Protection Program is designed to protect the rights of individuals who participate in research projects directed by Cornell University faculty, students and staff. Research activities covered by the Human Research Protection Program include, but are not limited to, interventions using physical procedures, communication or interpersonal contact between the researcher and participant to gather data for research, and manipulations of the participant or the participant’s environment that are performed for research purposes. These include surveys, questionnaires, and studies of private data, documents, or records in which there are individual identifiers. To help faculty, students, and staff members determine if an activity or project falls under the purview of Cornell’s Human Research Protection Program, the Office of Research Integrity and Assurance (ORIA) has developed a Decision Tree, available on their website.
The Institutional Review Board for Human Participants (IRB) is the official review board for all university projects that seek to use humans as research participants, assuring compliance with university policy and federal regulations protecting human participants in research. All proposals involving human participants in research, including those initiated by students, must be submitted to the IRB for review before any research activities begin. Only after receiving an approval letter from the IRB, or an exemption from IRB Review by ORIA, may a project be initiated. Guidelines for the use of human participants in research are available on the ORIA website. Inquiries and communications about the guidelines should be directed to the IRB staff.