Institutional Review Board (IRB)

The Board exists to review research and assist all researchers using human subjects on our campus. This site provides all necessary information to conduct approved research at SUNY Canton.

Why is research review necessary?

In 1979, the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare enacted regulations to require that all research involving human subjects be reviewed to guarantee that subjects are protected from physical and emotional harm caused by research studies.SUNY Canton abides by the terms of the Federalwide Assurance (FWA) for the Protection of Human Subjects. In a document entitled "The Belmont Report," research studies conducted in the past were described that subjected research participants to both medically-induced harm, and also mental abuse. Good review procedures should prevent negative consequences for our research subjects.

What research needs to be reviewed by the IRB?

All research involving interaction or intervention with human subjects needs to be reviewed by the IRB, with one exception for class projects. Currently, SUNY Canton exempts research that is a class-related data/information collection project using human participants conducted solely for pedagogical purposes where the results are not disseminated beyond the classroom. If there is any possibility that the result of the class project will be disseminated (even at Scholarly Activities Day), you are required to seek IRB approval. Retroactive IRB approval is not possible.

Please note that for student projects, a faculty advisor must serve as Principal Investigator. Certain projects are subjected to expedited review by the nature of the study, and some will require full Board review. The Guidelines and Procedures section of the Policy Manual for Research Activities Involving Human Participant will provide the definition for types of review.

Generally, projects that are reviewed by an IRB include a methodology to select and recruit participants, collect data from participants, and disseminate that information to scholars, practitioners, other researchers, or the general public. If you are not sure whether your project requires IRB approval, please use the following guideline:

  1. Is your project research, that is, a systematic investigation designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge?
    1. If no, this is not a project requiring IRB approval.
    2. If yes, move to question 2.
  2. Does the research involve obtaining information about living human subjects?
    1. If no, this is not a project requiring IRB approval. If this project involves animal subjects, please see the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) policies and procedures to continue.
    2. If yes, move to question 3.
  3. Does the research involve intervention or interaction with the individuals (including surveys, interviews, or observations of behavior that would normally be private, among others)?
    1. If no, and the identity of the subject cannot be ascertained from the information collected, this is not a project requiring IRB approval.
    2. If no, but the identity of the subject can be ascertained from the information collected, move to question 4.
    3. If yes, move to question 4.
  4. Has the project been approved by another IRB, and is that IRB willing to assume and maintain responsibility for conducting ethical review of the project?
    2. If yes, this project does not necessarily require additional SUNY Canton IRB approval. However, you must submit to the SUNY Canton IRB all materials that were approved by the responsible IRB, in addition to any approval letter (and conditions on that approval, such as timeline) you have received.
  5. If you are still not sure, please contact the IRB Chair at or visit the Office for Human Research Protections website for further clarification.

All researchers need to be certified

SUNY Canton has a contract with CITI, who provides training for researchers. In order to submit an application for review to the IRB, a certificate of training completion for two required courses from CITI must be included. Register for the CITI Courses and you will find our institution's name under SUNY – College of Technology at Canton.

Steps for Conducting a Research Project at SUNY Canton

  1. Read the Policy Manual for Research Activities Involving Human Participants [pdf]
  2. Take the CITI training.
  3. Use the following documents to ensure you have submitted all required items:
    1. Initial application [pdf]
    2. Protocol [docx]
    3. Letter of Information and Consent [docx], unless:
      1. Your participants are children, in which case you must use the Letter of Parental Consent and one of the Letters of Assent found below, or;
      2. Your participants are adults unable to consent, in which case you must use the LAR Consent found below


    1. Consent by Legally Authorized Representative [docx] (when the participant is an adult unable to consent)
    2. Parental Letter of Information and Consent [docx]
    3. Assent for children aged 14-17 to participate [docx]
    4. Assent for children aged 7-13 to participate [docx]
    5. Cooperating organization form [pdf] (when the data collection includes an organization outside of SUNY Canton, such as another institution or a community-based organization)
    6. External team member information [pdf] (when your research team includes individuals that are outside of SUNY Canton)


    1. Request for continuation [docx] (when your data collection has surpassed the initial approval date given by the SUNY Canton IRB)
    2. Adverse event form [docx] (please see below for a description)
    3. Response to IRB request for revisions [docx] (when you have received conditional approval, and must submit revisions before you can collect data – please note that you can use your own format as well)
  4. Please forward all items to Betsy Rohr Adams, Acting IRB Chair, along with appropriate forms that detail your research (e.g., questionnaires, consent forms, certification) at Please use the IRB email only for all correspondence regarding your IRB application.
  5. Upon completion of your study, you are required to submit the Study Completion Form [docx]. It is recommended that you make your results available to participants. If you do not have a means to do this, you can send a report of your findings to the IRB and it will be added to a publicly available repository on the IRB website.

Unanticipated Problems and Adverse Events

Serious or unexpected adverse psychological or physical reactions or injuries experienced by subjects from their participation in a SUNY Canton IRB approved study must be reported to the SUNY Canton IRB within 48 hours. If you are not sure whether you need to report, view the definitions of unanticipated problems and adverse events at the Office for Human Research Protections. Please use the following Adverse Events form to report the event to the SUNY Canton IRB.

Acting IRB Chair
Betsy Rohr Adams
MacArthur Hall 614
34 Cornell Drive
Canton, NY 13617