Step 1: Check if you need HPRB review

You need HPRB review if you are conducting research (as defined below) and it involves living human participants. This includes work on campus or elsewhere.

HPRB review and approval must occur before you begin.

Our online submission site, Mentor, starts with an optional pre-survey to help you determine whether your project requires review and, if so, what kind of review.

Research is…

a systematic investigation—including research development, testing, and evaluation—involving a living individual about whom you obtain:

  • data through intervention or interaction (including surveys and interviews), and/or
  • identifiable private information in a form that can be linked with that individual.

designed to develop or contribute to “generalizable knowledge.” Findings disseminated with the intent to influence behavior, practice, theory, future research designs, etc. are contributing to generalizable knowledge.

Student research involving human participants must be reviewed if it is:

  • a capstone project
  • an independent study project
  • student-faculty research
  • a Severtson project
  • funded by a Wang Center Grant
  • funded by a Diversity Justice Sustainability (DJS) Award
  • funded by other kinds of grants (e.g., federal)
  • work you intend to present at the Rae Linda Brown Undergraduate Research Symposium (if you want your abstract posted on the PLU website)
  • work you intend to present at a conference or publish in a journal

Most classroom research (conducted as a class requirement, used primarily as a learning tool, and not intended to contribute to generalizable knowledge) does not require HPRB review. Check with your instructor if you are uncertain.

QI projects in Nursing (designed to improve practices in a specific setting and not intended to generalize beyond that setting) should be reviewed at the project site. They are not reviewed by the PLU HPRB unless the project site does not have an IRB.

When in doubt, contact the HPRB ( and we can help you figure it out.