Institutional Review Board


Welcome to the Gardner-Webb University Institutional Review Board (IRB). The Gardner-Webb University Institutional Review Board exists to support and monitor the ethical research of undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, and any other researchers requesting supervision. The IRB supports research ethics as described by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, summarized by the following points:

  • Research participants must be kept free from harm.
  • Research participants must give their informed consent before participating in research.
  • Research participants have the right to anonymity. At no time should their name be associated with data.
  • Research participants have the right to withdraw without penalty.
  • Research participants must be debriefed after their participation is complete.

The IRB consists of members appointed by Chairs and Deans. The IRB then elects its own Chair who serves a two-year term. The Dean of the Graduate School serves as the IRB’s Institutional Administrator. The IRB also includes a Cognizant Representative who is selected from outside of GWU. The IRB approves and reviews all research involving human subjects. 

All researchers who interact with human subjects to collect data must complete a required educational program on ethics and procedures for the use of human subjects in research before the IRB may approve an application.

The IRB policy does not apply to professors and students collecting otherwise “exempt” data for educational purposes in the classroom. Anonymous educational tests and surveys are included in this category. Anonymous publicly available data and program evaluations are also exempt. Any professor may require students collecting “exempt” data to go through the IRB process.

This web site provides an overview of the purposes, policies, and procedures related to research requiring IRB approval. Prior to collecting data you will need to receive certification from the Graduate School that you have successfully completed competency testing via the Blackboard course "IRB Competency". 

For further information please contact Dr. Jeff Rogers, IRB Institutional Administrator at (704) 406-4724 or email at