Levels of Review

Exempt Research is conducted in regular classes at Gardner-Webb University under the supervision of a professor. Participation is anonymous and the dependent variable (self-esteem test, stress survey, etc.) is not controversial (surveys not on sensitive subjects, such as sexual behavior or drugs).


Departmental/school IRB representatives (two) may approve research at this level. The activity is initially reviewed by the IRB but is not subject to continuing IRB review if granted exemption.


Expedited Research may be approved at the departmental/school level by two IRB Representatives and the IRB Chair or the IRB Administrator. It does not require discussion at a convened board meeting. This category includes minor changes in previously approved research and research that is considered “minimal risk” (e.g., collecting data on weight or blood samples, test/ retest data). Expedited review protocols are subject to continuing review by the IRB on an annual basis.


Non-Exempt (Full) Review Research requires review by the full IRB. This would include research that is more than “minimal risk” in that it could cause harm or discomfort greater than that encountered in daily life or during the performance of routine physical or psychological examinations or tests. Non-exempt research also includes research:


  • where informed consent is not possible;
  • involving deception;
  • involving researchers outside of GWU
  • involving vulnerable populations.