What Is Human Subjects Research?

Research that involves the gathering of data from living human beings or from biological specimens collected from living human beings is defined as “human subjects research.” Depending on your academic discipline, you may also encounter it under the headings of “research with human participants,” “community-based research,” “clinical research,” or other terms. When such research is supported by funds from the U.S. Federal government, it is subject to regulations known as the “Common Rule,” which requires the establishment of an Institutional Review Board (IRB) to review and supervise such research. Bates College applies the core values of “respect for persons, beneficence, and justice” to all research. (“Respect for persons, beneficence, and justice” comes from the Belmont Report, issued in 1979.) To enable this, the Bates College IRB is responsible for a voluntary “Human-subjects Research Protection Program” (HRPP).