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Institutional Review Board

Policy on Survey Research

The following set of policies guide the actions of investigators who would like to conduct research at Christopher Newport University (CNU) with students, faculty or staff as participants. The policies will help ensure that CNU community members do not experience burnout due to being over-assessed as participants in studies.

Individuals who are not part of the Christopher Newport community (students, faculty or staff) but want to conduct studies examining the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors of CNU students, faculty or staff, can conduct research at the institution. However, these individuals must meet three criteria.

First, interested individuals need a CNU faculty sponsor who is knowledgeable about the project and who has earned a certificate verifying that he or she has taken and passed the National Institutes of Health Protecting Human Research Participants training.

Second, these individuals must submit a letter to the vice provost for research, graduate studies and assessment asking for permission to conduct the research. The letter should describe the project, the plan to carry out the project, and a letter from the CNU faculty sponsor. These documents must be no more than two pages, double-spaced, plus the sponsor’s letter of support. The individuals should expect a response from the associate provost in no less than two months, but in no more than five months.

Third, interested individuals must obtain CNU Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval to conduct the study after they have met the first two criteria. Therefore, interested individuals should plan well ahead of time for any study that they want to conduct at CNU.

SUMMARY: Three criteria to be met by non-CNU community members wanting to conduct research

  1. Obtain CNU sponsor

    • CNU faculty member
    • Faculty member is knowledgeable about project
    • Faculty member has passed the NIH ethics training course
  2. Letter to vice provost requesting permission to conduct research

    • Sufficient detail to understand study
    • Maximum of two pages double-spaced, plus letter of support from CNU sponsor
  3. Obtain IRB approval

The Undergraduate Catalog states that being a student at Christopher Newport University carries with it certain responsibilities, with one of them being the expectation to complete some university surveys, like the Graduate Exit Survey.

In cases where participation is not a university requirement, individuals who are part of the CNU community (students, faculty or staff) who want to conduct studies examining the thoughts, emotions and behaviors of CNU community members must ensure that their participants are free to opt in or out of their research study without penalty. That is, experimental participation must be free from coercion, such that participants are told they can leave the study at any time without penalty.

Coercion is greatly reduced or nonexistent in cases where participation is anonymous and no course credit (regular or extra) is offered. In cases where course credit (regular or extra) is offered to participants for their efforts, the participants must be offered the opportunity to perform an alternative assignment to earn the same amount of course credit.

The researchers are responsible for ensuring that their participants receive credit for their participation.

SUMMARY: Three criteria to be met by CNU community members wanting to conduct research

  1. Participants are told can leave any time without penalty

  2. Participants are anonymous

  3. Incentives

    • None: Participation is completely voluntary
    • Regular or extra credit
      • Alternative assignments are offered when participation earns course credit
      • Researchers must ensure participants receive credit for participation

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