• Do federal, state, and university regulations regarding human participants research change frequently?

    Yes, as new areas of research and new issues arise regulations change or are added accordingly.

  • UI’s IRB has authority to create policies beyond federal and state regulations.

    Yes, the regulations are the minimum required, but the IRB has the regulatory authority to add additional safeguards as the body deems appropriate for the institution.

  • Is the primary reason for IRB review to protect UI from legal suits by participants?
    No it is to protect participants. Participants still retain their legal rights.


  • Is training in human participant research required at UI?
    Training is required. See FAQ question about CITI training for more information. Training link: CITI Program Training
  • When is Human Participants (CITI) training required?

    Individuals required to complete CITI training:


    • Anyone involved in the direct collection of data from human subjects (including interviewers, focus group facilitators, transcribers, etc. whether they are UI faculty, staff, or students).
    • The PI or direct supervisor of individuals who are involved in data collection from human subjects (includes faculty sponsor or advisor, if individual is a student).
    • The PI or lead investigator for the human subjects component of an interdisciplinary project.
    • Anyone who analyzes or examines data which can be linked to individual study participants.
    • The lead PI on interdisciplinary grants in which there is a human subjects component of a project, even if the lead PI is not the researcher overseeing the human subjects component of the research.

    Individuals not required to complete CITI training:


    • Individuals who only analyze secondary data (such as published U.S. Census Bureau data or other agency data) that is publicly available and where individuals cannot be identified.
    • Co-PI’s (whether at UI or not), other than the grant’s lead PI, on interdisciplinary projects that may have a human subjects component where the human subjects component is being overseen and/or conducted by a PI who does have IRB training.  [Example:  on a project examining the agronomic, environmental, and sociological factors surrounding the use of conservation practices in agriculture, the sociologist and his/her team should have IRB training, the grant’s lead PI (whether the sociologist or not) should have IRB training, but the hydrologist analyzing water quality data is not required to complete the training.]
    • The lead PI on a grant awarded to another University or agency where a) the lead PI is not a UI employee, and b) UI is the subcontractor and the UI PI does have IRB training.

UI IRB Protocols

  • Do all IRB protocols need to be reviewed by the IRB Full Board?
    Most protocols qualify for exempt certification or expedited review. Only protocols that do not meet the exemption or expedited categories or have been determined to be above minimum risk are reviewed by the IRB full board.
  • The human participant research that I perform is minimal risk. Is it okay to say there is no risk associated with the study on the IRB application?
    All research activities with human participants pose some level of risk.  In some instances the level of risk may be considered minimal but for all non-exempt research these risks need to be listed and tied to appropriate risk mitigation measures.
  • Can participants be assured of confidentiality?
    While there are many measures that can be taken to protect confidentiality, UI is a state institution and data collected by faculty, staff and students can be requested through  both the State Public Records Act and the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
  • Is written consent necessary?
    In some cases (phone survey, anonymous survey, illiterate populations), other forms of consent may be better.
  • When a participant signs a consent form, does this commit them to the entire research project?
    No, participants can withdraw at any time without penalty.
  • When and how do investigators not associated with the UI obtain approval from the UI IRB?

    The University of Idaho reviews protocols for UI faculty/staff/students only.  If you are an outside investigator and your planned activities will engage UI in your research you will need to seek a UI collaborator to submit your protocol to the UI IRB for review and approval.  For activities that do not engage the UI in your research, e.g. contacting individuals associated with UI to recruit for your Human Subjects Research project no UI IRB approval is required or provided. 


    Note:  Please refer to the following guidance document as to whether your planned activities will engage UI in your research activities: HHS Guidance on Engagement

Payments to Research Subjects

  • May I pay a research subject to participate in my study?
    Yes. PIs may pay research subjects as an incentive to increase recruitment and compensate them for their time, effort, and unreimbursed expenses incurred as a result of participating in the study. The IRB must approve the payment scheme prior to implementation.
  • Do I need IRB approval of my payment scheme?
    Yes. If a PI is conducting human subjects research and intends to pay research subjects, then the PI must get IRB approval of the payment scheme prior to implementing the study. PIs can seek approval by outlining the payment scheme details in an IRB protocol and submitting it the the IRB. PIs should include details such as the payment type and amount, how and when the payment will be made, and what conditions the subjects must meet before qualifying for payment. PIs also must include these details within the informed consent documentation.
  • What factors must PIs consider in developing a research subject payment scheme?
    PIs must ensure that payments will not coerce or unduly influence a research subject to participate in the study such that the subject's participation is not truly voluntary. PIs must consider the vulnerabilities of the subject population, what types and amounts of payment are appropriate in light of the demands of the study, what subjects must do in order to receive the payment, and the conditions under which the payment offer will be made. Additionally, in instances where PIs must collect personal information for tax purposes (see IRB Payments to Research Subjects Policy), PIs must consider how the information will be collected, stored, and shared with Accounts Payable, and how the payment will be recorded.
  • The IRB has approved my payment scheme in my IRB protocol, but now I need to make a change to the payment scheme. What should I do?
    PIs who need to make a change to a previously approved payment scheme must submit an amendment request to the IRB. The PI may not implement any change until the IRB approves the amendment. The PI also should talk to Accounts Payable to be sure that the changes in the payment scheme can be implemented pursuant to Accounts Payable's policies and procedures.
  • May I pay non-research subjects (e.g. UI employees, contractors, sub-recipients, etc.) in connection with my study?
    Yes, but the method of payment may be subject to certain restrictions. If the IRB determines during the review of a protocol that individuals who do not qualify as "research subjects" (see definition in IRB Payments to Research Subjects Policy) are going to be paid in connection with the study, the IRB will refer the matter to the Office of Sponsored Programs, who will work with the PI and UI's Finance Division to determine the appropriate payment mechanism. The determination of whether an individual involved in the project is a "research subject" or "non-research subject" is not always clear and must be made on a case-by-case basis in close consultation with the PI. For example, individuals involved in community-based participatory research projects generally will be deemed "research subjects" if they are not only participating in the design or implementation of the project, but also are in some way a source of data that is the focus of the project. However, individuals who merely provide a service in support of the project likely will be deemed employees, contractors, or sub-recipients; those individuals must be compensated through the payroll or contracting processes.
  • What methods are available to make payments to research subjects?
    Subject to IRB approval and following the procedures in the IRB Payments to Research Subjects policy, PIs may provide research incentives to subjects via any of the following methods: (1) cash; (2) gift cards / gift certificates; (3) university checks; (4) non-cash tangible items; or (5) extra course credit. Note that monetary payments to nonresident alien individuals may be made by university check only, and PIs must issue those individuals a Form W-8. For monetary payments to U.S. tax residents in the amount of $50.01 or more, PIs must issue the subjects a Form W-9.
  • Do I have to collect subjects' personal information (name, address, SSN) in order to pay them?
    It depends. If a PI pays a U.S. tax resident $50 or less, and the PI does not reasonably expect that aggregate payments to that person will exceed $600 in a calendar year, then the PI is not required to collect personal information from that subject. If a PI pays a U.S. tax resident $50.01 or more, reasonably expects that the aggregate payments to that person will exceed $600 in a calendar year, or pays any amount to a nonresident alien individual, then the PI is required to collect personal information from that subject. See the IRB Payments to Research Subjects policy for detailed guidance.
  • Do I have to share subjects’ personal information with UI Finance and Administration in order to make payments?
    It depends. If a PI pays a U.S. tax resident $50.01 or more, reasonably expects that the aggregate payments to that person will exceed $600 in a calendar year, or pays any amount to a nonresident alien individual, then the PI must submit subjects’ personal information to Accounts Payable because the IRS requires the University to report all payments of $600 or more made to U.S. tax residents and payments of any amount made to nonresident alien individuals. The University also must send each of those individuals a Form 1099 or 1042-S, as applicable. In these circumstances, PIs must inform the research subjects that their personal information will be shared between University departments for payment and taxation purposes. PIs should contact Accounts Payable prior to making payments to ensure the proper safeguards are in place for transmitting the personal information.
  • How do I obtain a reimbursement or cash advance for research incentives?
    Contact Accounts Payable prior to starting the research project and making any payments to determine the appropriate mechanism for receiving reimbursement or a cash advance. Accounts Payable will identify the documentation that PIs must produce in order to receive the reimbursement or cash advance.
  • May I purchase research incentives on my University P-card?
    No. P-cards may not be used to purchase any research incentive including, but not limited to, gift cards, gift certificates, or non-cash tangible items.

Student Researchers

  • If I am a student, what must I do?
    Download and fill out the required materials, complete the CITI course, and email your materials to your faculty sponsor.  If acceptable, the faculty sponsor will forward the materials to the IRB for review.
  • Are class projects that involve human participant research exempt from IRB review?
    Class projects may be exempt from IRB review when they meet all the guidelines provided in the “Research Practica” because the activities do not meet the definition of research.  However class projects that meet the definition of Human participant research would require IRB review, e.g., class projects involving human participants that are part of a Masters or Doctorate thesis require IRB review because the activity meets the definition of research.

Research with Minors

  • Is parental consent sufficient to involve minors in studies?
    It is necessary, but not sufficient. Must also have assent of child participant (>3 yrs.), Verbal assent (3-7 yrs.), written assent (>7yrs.)
  • For non-exempt research projects carried out in a K-12 school setting, do I need permission from the school principal or superintendent?
    Yes, you must provide this permission as part of the IRB submission package.