New researchers frequently ask, “What does the Institutional Review Board process look like?” While every research proposal is different, the review process generally includes:

  • An initial administrative screening where the IRB administrator checks that all parts of the proposal are uploaded and complete (e.g., consent form, recruitment script, etc.).
  • A revision step where the Primary Investigator (PI) is contacted and asked to upload any missing parts or address any suggested edits.
  • A formal review process where reviewers examine the final version of the proposal.
  • A decision to approve or deny the proposal.

Sometimes a PI may withdraw the proposal. For example, a PI submitted a proposal expecting a group of students to attend a science workshop. However, due to unforeseen circumstances the workshop was cancelled and the study was no longer possible. As such, the researcher withdrew the study from review.

Some proposals may require a few extra rounds of review to ensure they are (1) understandable and (2) compliant. Overall, one key factor to consider is the IRB Review Process takes time to complete.