Exempt Review

The review time is typically shorter than other categories of review (~6-8 days).

Only certain categories of research qualify as exempt, based on federal regulations. You must still submit to the HPRB and document how participants’ identity and privacy will be protected.

If the HPRB reviews your project and determines that it is “exempt,” no further oversight or review by the HPRB is necessary, unless there are changes to the nature or scope of the project.

Research may be determined to be exempt from further HPRB review/oversight if it:

  • has been approved by an off-campus IRB.
  • measures the efficacy of educational practices in an educational setting.
  • involves analysis, synthesis, or study of existing data or documents when these are publicly available or when the information is recorded in such a way that individuals are anonymous.
  • involves the use of surveys, interviews, educational tests, psychological tasks or observation of public behavior when the obtained information is anonymous or when disclosure of the individual responses poses no risk of adverse consequences to the participant.

Anonymous >>>

Anonymous means that the individual participant cannot be identified from the data themselves, and no identifying information is linked to the data. Video and voice recordings are not anonymous. Interview or survey data in which recorded demographic characteristics or descriptions of specific incidents could easily lead to the recognition of the individual respondent are not anonymous.

Public behavior >>>

Public behavior is behavior occurring without the intervention of the researcher, and which the individual could reasonably expect to be observed. Observation of reactions to “staged” events and of behavior occurring in private settings (e.g., at home, in a bathroom stall) or in settings in which individuals have reasonable expectations of a limited audience (e.g., classrooms, meetings of identified groups) is not exempt.

Examples of adverse consequences include >>>

  • placing participants at risk of criminal or civil liability
  • damaging the participant’s academic standing or standing in any ongoing program, financial standing, employment status or employability, insurance status or insurability
  • damaging the participant’s reputation


Expedited Review

This type of project requires a bit more review time than exempt research (~8-10 days).

Research using a wide range of methodologies can fall into this review category, including collection of data:

  • from voice, video, digital, or image recordings made for research purposes;
  • on individual or group characteristics or behavior (e.g., research on perception, cognition, motivation, identity, language, communication, religious or cultural beliefs or practices, and social behavior);
  • from surveys, interviews, oral histories, focus groups, program evaluation, or human factors evaluation; and/or
  • from behavioral interventions that are brief in duration, harmless, not physically invasive, not likely to have a significant adverse lasting impact and unlikely to be considered offensive or embarrassing by participants.

Research may qualify for expedited review if it involves:

  • no more than minimal risk to participants
  • no vulnerable populations

The HPRB will want to make sure you are adequately protecting the privacy and confidentiality of participants.

Minimal risk >>>

Minimal risk means that the probability and magnitude of harm or discomfort anticipated in the research are not greater than those ordinarily encountered in daily life or during the performance of routine physical or psychological examinations or tests.

Vulnerable populations >>>

Vulnerable populations include children under 18 years of age, clinical populations, incarcerated populations, individuals who for one reason or another cannot provide informed consent.

Privacy >>>

Privacy can be defined in terms of having control over the extent, timing, and circumstances of sharing oneself (physically, behaviorally, or intellectually) with others.

Confidentiality >>>

Confidentiality pertains to the treatment of information that an individual has disclosed in a relationship of trust and with the expectation that it will not be divulged to others, in ways that are inconsistent with the understanding of the original disclosure without permission.


Full Board Review

This type of proposal requires extended review time, so plan ahead (~1-2 months).

If your project does not qualify for exempt or expedited review, it must be submitted for full board review.

Full board review requires a convened meeting of the HPRB, with a majority of its members present. Specific meeting dates and submission deadlines are set in advance. Please see HPRB Meeting Schedule.

Submission deadlines are ~10 days before the committee meeting. This allows time for preliminary review by HPRB members, who provide feedback and questions to the Chair.

Research requires full board review if it involves:

a.  vulnerable populations
(e.g., children under 18 years of age, clinical populations, incarcerated populations, individuals who for one reason or another cannot provide informed consent).

b.  intentional induction of stress, or where stress to participants might be an unintended consequence
For example:

  • the use of aversive or physically painful stimuli
  • the induction of emotional distress, such as embarrassment, frustration, anxiety, loss of self-esteem, anger, or sexual arousal
  • the induction of physical stress through procedures such as exercise, sleep deprivation

c.  potential for physical injury
Including the consumption of any substance, (e.g., coffee, tea, tobacco, over-the-counter medications)

d.  potential for ethical objections from participants
For example:

  • deception by the researcher or confederates
  • manipulations of participants’ attitudes or behavior
  • observation of behavior in non-public settings without advance consent

e.  collection of personally sensitive data requiring unusual procedures to ensure confidentiality

You can expect to hear back from the Chair within a few days of the full board meeting.

Typical HPRB actions include:

  • approval
  • request for revisions that can be approved by the HPRB Chair
  • request for revisions that must be re-reviewed by the Committee