The Holyoke Community College Institutional Review Board is responsible for safeguarding the rights and welfare of human subjects who participate in research activities conducted by the college community. The IRB is also responsible for safeguarding the rights and welfare of members of the college community who participate as subjects in research studies conducted by researchers outside of the HCC community. Any faculty member, student, or staff member who proposes to engage in research involving the use of human subjects must have the project reviewed and approved by the IRB. Researchers not affiliated with Holyoke Community College who conduct research with HCC students, faculty members, or staff members also must have their research projects approved by the IRB. This policy applies to all research regardless of methodology (e.g., surveys, interviews, observational studies, experiments).

Faculty, staff, or students who plan to conduct independent research studies must submit the "Holyoke Community College IRB Application for Research Involving Human Subjects" for review by the IRB. Faculty members serving as advisors to students who are conducting independent research projects are responsible for assisting the students in preparing the "IRB Application for Research Involving Human Subjects" and for supervising their research.

For student projects which are conducted as part of a course (e.g., a research methods or statistics course), the faculty member must submit the project assignment guidelines and the "Registration of Classroom Research Activities" form for review by the IRB. The definition of "research" requiring IRB review does not apply to most classroom activities, since these types of projects are usually not intended to contribute to generalizable knowledge, but instead represent a learning exercise in research methods. It is the faculty member's responsibility to ensure that projects conducted by his/her students conform to reasonable and ethical practices in the spirit of the IRB policy (e.g., participants must voluntarily consent to participation and participant privacy must be respected). Faculty members will need to have the project assignment guidelines approved only once by the IRB; resubmission will be required only if the guidelines change during subsequent semesters. If a student's course assignment has the potential to develop into a "research" project that could be viewed as contributing to generalizable knowledge, the IRB should be consulted before the project is initiated.


Holyoke Community College
303 Homestead Ave. Holyoke, MA 01040