The Randolph-Macon Institutional Review Board (IRB) evaluates all research projects involving the use of human participants at Randolph-Macon. The focus of the evaluation is on the ethical treatment of the individuals participating in the research process.
The Randolph-Macon guidelines for research with human subjects are based on the three principles outlined in the 1979 Belmont report: Respect for Persons, Beneficence and Justice. The principle of Respect for Persons acknowledges the dignity and autonomy of individuals. This principle requires that subjects give informed consent to participation in research. The principle of Beneficence requires us to protect individuals by maximizing anticipated benefits and minimizing possible harms. The principle of Justice requires that we treat subjects fairly. These core principles have been translated into specific guidelines by several organizations including the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) at the Department of Health and Human Services, the American Psychological Association, and the American Sociological Association. The guidelines of these organizations include the need for Informed Consent, Confidentiality, Debriefing, Limited Deception and Protection from harm.
The process for approval by the IRB begins when a researcher submits an application to the committee, using the IRB application form. For applications requiring full board review, applications will be reviewed by all members of the IRB for their approval, denial, or conditional approval with necessary changes indicated. Research studies that involve minimal risk to subjects may be reviewed using an expedited process; in these cases, proposals will be reviewed by one or more members of the IRB. An expedited review may result in approval, conditional approval with necessary changes indicated, or referral to full board for review. Although the IRB is free to make suggestions on methodology and hypotheses, the decision on the approval of a study is made solely on the basis of ethics and not the quality of the proposed study. Similarly, it is not purview of the IRB to edit a submitted proposal.
Completed applications should be submitted electronically to Barb Wirth (firstname.lastname@example.org). Additional questions or concerns can be directed to the IRB Chair, Amy Armenia (email@example.com).
The Institutional Review board consists of at least five members, one of whom is not a member of the institution, and one of whom is a non-scientist. The current IRB membership is as follows: