Human Subjects in Research

All research involving human subjects —including undergraduate honors college theses, and graduate theses and dissertations—must be reviewed for the protection of human subjects. The research must be approved by the Institutional Review Board before the research begins. The IRB—not the researcher— will apply federal regulations and Western Michigan University policy to determine if IRB oversight is required. 

Federal regulations define “research” as “a systematic empirical investigation designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge.” Federal regulations define “human subject” as “a living individual about whom an investigator conducting research obtains data through intervention or interaction, or identifiable private information.”

Principal investigator responsibilities

The principal investigator is responsible for:

  • The compliance of all co-investigators, student investigators and research associates with the IRB decisions, conditions, and requirements.
  • Reporting to the IRB any changes to the research protocol (e.g., research design of the study, recruitment procedures).
  • Requesting renewal by completing the Application for Continuing Review when contact with subjects will extend beyond the approval termination date.
  • Reporting to the IRB chair any unanticipated adverse reactions or unanticipated events associated with the conduct of this research.
  • Seeking clarification and advice from the HSIRB regarding ethical aspects of the research.

Committee oversight: The IRB is a local review board, established by the WMU Board of Trustees in accord with federal regulations, to interpret and apply federal regulations, state law and research sponsor requirements for the use of human subjects in research. The IRB is charged with the protection of the rights and welfare of human subjects in research conducted under the aegis of WMU.

WMU Policies

WMU Procedures

Training requirements

All WMU personnel (faculty, staff and students) in their research are required to complete this Citi training program. Researchers must also complete any species-specific courses relevant to their research prior to the start of the project.

Human Subject forms

IRB meeting schedule

WMU IRB meetings are held at 8 a.m. on the third Wednesday of each month in the Emeriti Lounge, 211 West Walwood Hall, on East Campus. Details

Regulation links

Additional Information

Submit a concern

Use the WMU Reporting Hotline to submit concerns. Select "Make a Report" at the top of the page.

Contact

Associate Director Research Compliance
Julia Mays
Office: (269) 387-8293
Cell: (269) 447-9959
julia.mays@wmich.edu