The Ohio State University at Marion

Marion Area Science & Engineering Fair
6. Institutional Review Board

An Institutional Review Board (IRB) is a committee that, according to federal law, must evaluate the potential physical or psychological risk of research involving human subjects. All proposed human research must be reviewed and approved by an IRB before experimentation begins. This includes any surveys or questionnaires to be used in a project.

An IRB at the school level must consist of a minimum of three members. Additional members are recommended to avoid conflict of interest. The IRB must include:

a) a science teacher

b) a school administrator

c) one of the following: a psychologist, psychiatrist, medical doctor, physician's assistant, or registered nurse

Due to the federal regulations requiring local community involvement, an IRB should be established at the school level to deal with human research projects. If a school needs assistance in establishing an IRB, the teacher/school should contact the director of the Marion Area Science & Engineering Fair at for assistance.

All projects will be reviewed by OSUM's Scientific Review Committee before the Marion Area Science & Engineering Fair. Projects involving human subjects that do not have the necessary prior approval will be disqualified. It is strongly recommended that the forms for all such projects be submitted to OSUM before the student begins experimentation. The SRC at OSUM will endeavor to work with students to ensure that any problems with their projects are corrected, and they can also put a student in touch with a mentor for the project. (See Mentors.)

For more information, see Operational Guidelines for Scientific Review Committees and Institutional Review Boards, a pdf document provided by the Society for Science & the Public.

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