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students in research

Institutional Review Board (IRB)

The function of the IRB is to protect the rights and welfare of human research participants and to facilitate research by using the basic ethical principles from the Belmont Report and federal regulations, guided always by scripture, which instructs us to practice justice, kindness, and humble obedience to God (Micah 6:8). Members of the IRB are tasked with the review and approval of all research involving human subjects that is conducted at Covenant College or by its faculty, staff or students.


The IRB is independent and does not answer to individuals, departments, or units that rely on the IRB for the review of their research. The IRB is the final authority for all decisions regarding the protection and welfare of human participants in research activities. Institutional officials may not approve the research if it has not been approved by the IRB.


Covenant College’s IRB is an administrative committee appointed and overseen by the Office of Academic Affairs. It is empowered by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services Office of Human Research.


Members of the committee are drawn from administration, faculty, and staff and will either have experience with and/or a compelling academic interest in research done with human subjects. The IRB must also also include a community representative.


The IRB has the authority to:

  • Disapprove, modify, or approve studies based upon consideration of human participant protection.

  • Conduct continuing review as it deems necessary, including requiring progress reports.

  • Suspend or terminate approval of a study not being conducted in accordance with the IRB’s requirements.

  • Observe the informed consent process and/or audit the progress of any study in its jurisdiction as it deems necessary.


Application Procedure Overview

Before beginning a research project with human participants, you must prepare the following documents, submit them to, and receive approval from the IRB.


  • Fillable IRB protocol application.

  • Documentation that all members of the research team (including student researchers) have completed CITI training within previous 24 months. (Note: CITI-training certification lasts 3 years before the refresher course must be taken; however, no research protocol application will be approved with an expiration date beyond the 36-month end of CITI certification.)