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Institutional Review Board (IRB)

In accordance with PBSC’s mission “to create and sustain a dynamic teaching environment,” the College hosts an Institutional Review Board (IRB). An IRB enables research to be conducted at an institute once researchers are granted approval via the research review process. PBSC’s IRB consists of a diverse group of committee members who review potential research protocols with a focus on protecting the rights and welfare of PBSC participants. The IRB currently meets monthly during the fall and spring semesters to review applications submitted by the last day of the previous month.

Please read more about the IRB and its associated policies and procedures in the Procedures Booklet. This document includes a brief history of IRBs, terms, procedures, a researcher checklist, sample informed consent template, frequently asked questions, and additional resources.

All individuals who wish to conduct research at PBSC must complete the Protecting Human Research Participants training offered for free by the National Institute of Health Extramural Research Department. You will need to save a copy of your certificate to submit with your application.

If after reviewing the materials on this website you still have questions. Please email us at

Checklist for Submission of Protocol

  • Receive approval from your "home" IRB (applicable if researcher's home institution is not PBSC).
  • Complete the NIH Protecting Human Research Participants training (or equivalent).
  • Submit in one email to the following items:
    • PBSC IRB Protocol Application (required of all researchers)
    • Certificate of Completion of the NIH training or equivalent (required of all researchers)
    • Other study materials (as applicable): consent/assent forms, copy of other IRB approval letters, data collection instruments, recruitment materials, other supplemental materials
  • Wait for the decision of the Palm Beach State College IRB before conducting the research.

Sometimes individuals are unsure if their project constitutes research that needs to be reviewed by an IRB. A project needs to be reviewed by the IRB if it meets two criteria: (1) it is research and (2) it involves human participants. Research is defined by 45 CFR 46 as "a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge." Human participants are considered involved in the research if there is direct "intervention or interaction" with people who are living or their "identifiable private information."

Routine assessments of programs, services, or teaching methods that remain internal to the college do not require IRB review. However, when results from assessments are shared with broader audiences, the project does require IRB review. For example, if a professor tries two different methods of teaching in two different classes and then assesses which method was more effective in order to improve her teaching, she does not need to seek approval. However, if she wants to present her findings in a publication or presentation, she would need to seek IRB approval because she would be contributing to generalizable knowledge. If you are not sure if your project requires IRB review, please contact the IRB. 

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