Institutional Review Board and Human Research Protection Program at Bates College

The Bates College Institutional Review Board (IRB) has been established to approve research projects involving the use of human participants (or source-identifiable biospecimens from human participants). The IRB exists both because Bates wants to ensure that research participants are treated with the utmost respect and safety and because federal law requires that all federally funded research involving human participants receive IRB approval. The research projects concerned include not only standard research but in-class research and community-based research (CBR) projects as well, and extend to journals and photographs, video and tape recordings of participants.

No in-person data collection should be taking place at this time without direct approval from the Bates IRB.  In addition, projects that would normally be considered exempt from IRB approval are no longer exempt if they involve in-person data collection.  Remote data collection (e.g., online surveys, surveys sent through email, etc.) may continue as approved or exempted.

If you currently have IRB approval for in-person data collection but have not yet communicated with the IRB about how you are addressing issues related to COVID-19, then you need to stop this research and submit an addendum to the IRB.  Your addendum needs to address the three items listed below.  If you do not yet have IRB approval then your proposal will need to address these same three items.

Your addendum or new IRB proposal must explain (1) why the data cannot be collected remotely, and (2) your consent form will need to inform participants that participation could increase the likelihood of exposure to COVID-19 which could put them and others at risk.  Adult participants will then need to sign this consent form to indicate that they understand the risks and agree to this.   In addition, if you plan on in-person data collection then your addendum or proposal should include (3) a separate section describing the procedures you are taking to minimize exposure and why the potential benefits of your study outweigh the risk of spreading COVID-19.

You should also be aware that if your project is approved this approval may be rescinded and your research might be put on hold if new concerns emerge related to COVID-19.