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Research Methods Information: Institutional Review Board and Research Ethics

A comprehensive resource for faculty and students who are teaching and conducting research.

IRB & Research Ethics Resources

Institutional Review Board (IRB)

What is an Institutional Review Board?

"An Institutional Review Board (IRB) is a committee established to review and approve research involving human subjects. The purpose of the IRB is to ensure that all human subject research be conducted in accordance with all federal, institutional, and ethical guidelines.

Our goal is to provide all APUS community members with information, guidance, forms, and related materials needed to secure IRB approval for human subject research. The American Public University System consists of both the American Public University (APU) and the American Military University (AMU).  The Institutional Review Board was established to review, approve, require modifications to, or deny human subject research conducted under the Aegis of APUS.

If the research involves APUS faculty, staff, and/or students, this research may also need approval of the Internal Research Review Board (IRRB)."


Building Successful IRB App Packet screenshot

         Webinar from 4/4/2017




         Webinar from 2017

Research Ethics

experimental subjects

What is meant by research ethics?

"Research ethics is specifically interested in the analysis of ethical issues that are raised when people are involved as participants in research."



The three objectives of ethical research:

  1. To protect human participants.
  2. To ensure that research is conducted in a way that serves interests of individuals, groups and/or society as a whole.
  3. To examine specific research activities and projects for their ethical soundness, looking at issues such as the management of risk, protection of confidentiality and the process of informed consent.

Selected Books on Research Ethics in the APUS Library


Selected Journals on Research Ethics in the APUS Library


Institutional Review Board (IRB) at APUS


IRB Manager

To log into IRBManager, enter the following link in your browser:


IRB Tips & Advice

(Hopefully) Helpful Advice
  • Not every research project is going to require IRB!  Check with the IRB office first to ask if your research project is going to require IRB review.

  • IRB is going to be different for each research project; be sure to check what the requirements are.

  • There are special restrictions for working with specialized populations.  This includes children and any other populations where an individual could be identified just by participating, even if their name is never used in the research paper.  

  • Check to see if you are eligible for expedited or exempt review.  If you do not qualify for either of these you will need to undergo full board review.  

  • It can be challenging and sometimes frustrating to fill out all of the proper documents, but it is important to be as thorough as possible when filling it out so that you give yourself the best chance at success of passing review the first time around.

  • Ask for advice from anyone you know who has gone through IRB.  I have been approached by multiple colleagues and classmates who have asked for advice about how to complete an IRB form for the first time.  I am more than happy to sit down and talk through which forms to fill out and whom else it would be useful to talk to before submitting the IRB review forms.  

  • Remember, the purpose of IRB is to protect everyone involved.  Think about how your research can impact others and always think of your participants safety and anonymity first.