Research is an integral part of understanding the world around us and in making a positive impact on the community, both locally and globally. FXUA faculty come from a diverse array of backgrounds and have contributed to a growing body of knowledge through book publications, research publications, professional workshops, conference presentations, and many other endeavors. As such, Fairfax University of America shares the commitment of providing opportunities to faculty and graduate program students to engage in scholarly research for personal, professional, and university growth.
The institutional review board (or IRB) consists of at least seven members who have a variety of areas of expertise and extensive experience with research. Several of those members are affiliated with FXUA, while some are external to the university. The purpose of the IRB is to ensure the protection of human participants involved in research studies, thus ensuring human participants’ rights and welfare. The IRB meets and reviews applications for research involving human participants with the sole purpose of making sure research studies meet strict guidelines for the protection of human participants.
If your research involves human participants, you are required to receive approval from the IRB prior to beginning your research study. Research involving surveys, interviews, archival data, and observations all involve human participants and require IRB approval. It is the responsibility of each principal investigator to seek approval from the IRB.
The following is a list of current IRB members. IRB members are tasked with reviewing, approving, and/or disapproving research involving human subjects and providing assistance to researchers. If you have questions regarding the IRB or any of the procedures for conducting research, you may contact the IRB Chairperson at . Your inquiry will then be directed to the appropriate IRB member.
|Dr. Rebecca Sachs (Chair)||FXUA School of Education|
|Dr. Ademola Asaya||FXUA School of Business|
|Dr. Halil Atabay||FXUA General Education (Biology)|
|Dr. Kevin Martin||FXUA School of Language Studies & Office of Institutional Effectiveness|
|Dr. Julie Lake||Georgetown University Law Center|
|Dr. Natasha Schuh-Nuhfer||Northern Virginia Community College, NOVA SySTEMic|
Before submitting an application to conduct research with human participants, ALL of the researchers and research assistants who will be involved with the project (e.g., principal investigators, faculty, student researchers) must complete one of the following courses:
Each researcher’s certificate of completion must be dated within the past 3 years and must be submitted to FXUA’s IRB in PDF form as part of the application, along with the record/tracking number.
Additional information on accessing these courses is provided below.
To take the Good Clinical Practice (GCP) eCourse, you will first need to create a free account with the Society of Behavioral Medicine as a non-member/extramural researcher: https://sbm.execinc.com/edibo/Account
This will allow you to earn a certificate which you can then submit to the IRB as part of your application. The GCP course can be accessed at the following address: https://www.sbm.org/training/good-clinical-practice-for-social-and-behavioral-research-elearning-course
As explained on the OBSSR website, “Investigators… who are competent in GCP principles will be better able to assure that the rights, safety, and well-being of human subjects are protected; that clinical trials are conducted in accordance with approved plans and with rigor and integrity; and that data derived from clinical trials are reliable” (Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, n.d., para 2).
The training contains 9 video modules with a variety of interactive quizzes and knowledge tests. You must work through the modules in order. If you have problems with the functionality of the training website, please email . If you have questions about the content of the training, please contact or .
Fairfax University of America does not have institutional access to the CITI Social-Behavioral-Educational (SBE) Basic Course. However, if you have access to this training through another organization, FXUA’s IRB will recognize your completion of those modules as meeting our training requirement.
Information about the CITI SBE course is available at the following address: https://about.citiprogram.org/en/course/human-subjects-research-2. The login page is available here: https://www.citiprogram.org/login. If needed, instructions are available in a “getting started” video and written guide.
CITI Program. (n.d.). Social-Behavioral-Educational (SBE) Basic. Available from https://about.citiprogram.org/en/course/human-subjects-research-2/
Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research. (n.d.). Online training resources. National Institutes of Health. Available from https://obssr.od.nih.gov/training/online-training-resources/
Society of Behavioral Medicine. (2020). Good Clinical Practice eCourse. Available from https://www.sbm.org/training/good-clinical-practice-for-social-and-behavioral-research-elearning-course
Anderson, M. A. (2016). Back to basics: Does my project fall within the scope of the regulations? [Webinar Video]. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available from https://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/education-and-outreach/online-education/videos/all-videos/index.html and https://youtu.be/o2fZs_XOMTs
[NOTE: Investigators themselves cannot make a determination as to whether their research can be considered exempt from IRB review. The IRB itself makes that determination.]
Feige, M. (2012). When PI’s come a-knockin: Everything investigators want to know but are afraid to ask. [Webinar Video]. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available from https://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/education-and-outreach/online-education/videos/all-videos/index.html and https://youtu.be/FLoHNTuifGQ
Hernandez, J. O. (2016). What you should know about IRB review of research. [Webinar Video]. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available from https://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/education-and-outreach/online-education/videos/all-videos/index.html and https://youtu.be/_UK5QatUEKE
Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. (1979). The Belmont report: Ethical principles and guidelines for the protection of human subjects of research. Available from https://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/regulations-and-policy/belmont-report/read-the-belmont-report/index.html
Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research. (2010). eSource: Introductory social and behavioral science training material. National Institutes of Health. Available from https://obssr.od.nih.gov/training/online-training-resources/esource/
Prior to beginning any research that involves human participants, you must apply for and obtain IRB approval.
Please note that since the IRB must approve your proposed recruitment procedures as well as your proposed methods of minimizing risks, protecting participants’ confidentiality, ensuring their autonomy, and so on, this means that you must obtain IRB approval before you begin seeking participants for your study. You may not begin recruiting or conducting the research until you have obtained official written approval from the IRB.
Also note that it is the IRB that determines the type of review required for any proposed research with human participants. The researchers themselves cannot determine whether their study meets the criteria for exempt status.
The IRB Chair conducts initial reviews of applications on a rolling basis. Applications meeting the criteria for exemption or expedited review are delegated immediately to individual members of the IRB. Those requiring a full review must be reviewed and discussed by all IRB members as a group.
As needed, the full IRB meets on the second Monday of each month to review applications and other documentation. Applications to conduct research with human participants must be submitted at least two (2) weeks prior to each meeting in order to be considered in a timely manner.
In order to obtain IRB approval to conduct research with human participants, follow the procedures below: