Before an application packet is submitted to our office for review, WSU student researchers will need to develop their research proposal by partnering with a part-time or full-time WSU faculty member who will serve as the PI on the project and who will provide meaningful mentorship from development to conclusion of your research project.

During the development stage, the following considerations should be made:

  • What is the research question/purpose?
  • Which frameworks and research designs are best suited for answering the research question?
  • Who should and should not be a potential participant?
  • How should potential participants be recruited and provided informed consent in an ethical manner?
  • What methods of data collection and analysis are best suited for answering the research question?
  • What potential risks are there to participants based on their potential enrollment in the research? How can these be minimized?
  • What potential benefits to society are there based on the findings of the research? Do they outweigh the risks?
  • Is funding needed to conduct this research?
  • Who else is or should be on the research team?

All researchers should establish considerate and realistic timelines both for your team and for our office if seeking IRB/HRPP review. The planning process is highly dependent on the research team and the project complexity so how much time you need for this stage will vary from project to project.

Determine Your Need For Review

Once you have developed the basic plan for your research, the next step to determine if HRPP/IRB review is needed, and if so, what level of review to prepare for. 

To help determine the need for review, we recommend starting with the Not Human Research Determination(NHSR) form which will guide you through questions designed to help determine if your project meets the federal definitions of “generalizable” and “human subject” research.

If after completing the form, it is indicated that review is needed, there are two applications to choose from:

  1. Exempt Application
  2. Non-Exempt application

Review Levels


Exempt review should be sought for research that involves human subjects but no more than minimal risk and if it meets the criteria defined in the Federal Regulations for Protection of Human Research Subjects (45 CFR 46.104).


Studies that do not meet the criteria for Exempt review must be reviewed as Non-Exempt (Expedited or Full Board).

For expedited review, the research must not be greater than minimal risk and it must meet the criteria of at least one of the categories defined in (45 CFR 46.110).

Studies that do not meet the requirement for Exempt or Expedited review and involve more than minimal risk will be subject to full board review.

Not sure if your project qualifies as research, which application to submit, or what level of review is required? Please contact our office to schedule a guidance meeting with our HRPP staff.

All researchers are encouraged to submit 2-3 months prior to when they hope to begin their study to allow time for a considerate and thorough review of their planned research. This insures there is ample time for the review process to be conducted and to allow for revisions and recommended changes to be addressed.

Forms are periodically updated on our website and to avoid a re-submission request, we ask that you always download the most current forms when preparing a new submission.

This is also when all researches involved in the project should complete their CITI training requirements if not already done.

Materials required for a complete submission include:

  • Application
  • Addendums * if applicable
  • All recruitment materials
  • All informed consent materials
  • All study tools/measures for data collection and analysis
  • Letters of support/outside IRB review determinations * if applicable
  • Non-WSU Personnel CITI certificates *if applicable