Recruitment of Students as Research Subjects
UW-Parkside Institutional Review Board Policy
If an instructor examines student learning in their classroom for the sole purpose of learning how to improve instruction, this work does NOT need to go through IRB review. However, in some cases, faculty researchers may wish to use their own students as research subjects. Because the status relationship between faculty and students raises ethical concerns about coercion and undue influence, the UW-Parkside Institutional Review Board provides guidance for researchers who deem it necessary to use their students as research subjects. The IRB will consider the following factors when reviewing such research requests:
- The research must present minimal risk to subjects.
- Because participation in a research project should always be voluntary, students must be given the option of whether to participate or not.
- Recruitment of subjects must be indirect (through a flyer, letter, etc.) so that the student initiates contact with the researcher.
- If research participation is an option for receiving course credit, alternative methods of obtaining equivalent credit with no more than approximately equivalent time and effort should be provided.
- If the nature of research participation involves completing an assignment for the class, rather than be given the option of not doing the assignment, the student instead should be given the option of whether or not to allow his/her information to be included in the data for the research project.
- Informed consent language must clearly state that subjects may withdraw from the study at any point without penalties.
- Researchers must obtain students' consent in order to use any student information that is available to him/her by virtue of being an instructor (e.g., grade information) in the research.
- An individual other than the instructor must obtain informed consent for the study. If this isn't possible, IRB can consider other methods that would minimize or eliminate the potential for coercive influence in the informed consent procedure.
- Student informed consent should be collected in a way such that the instructor conducting the research will not know during the semester of data gathering which students in his/her class have agreed or not agreed to participate in the research project.
- If a researcher conducts research with students during class time, that research should be relevant to the topic of the class, and participation should be part of students' learning experience.