Research and IRB

Many Macalester students conduct research while studying away. In order to ensure that this research meets Macalester standards, there are two important steps for students to take. First, students planning to do research while on study away are required to complete an online module on responsible conduct of research. Students will be emailed with information about RCR the semester before they study away. Second, if students are planning to use the research upon return to Macalester, they must also have approval from an appropriate Institutional Review Board (IRB).

If you are planning to do research while on a study away program with human or animal subjects:

  1. You must complete an online certification module that covers appropriate research practices. The semester before you study away, you will receive information on how to complete this module via email. If you do not receive this email, please contact the International Center. This must be done prior to leaving campus the semester before you study away.
  2. Decide if you want to use this research upon return to Macalester. Many students choose to use research done on a study away program for a paper or project at Macalester. This could take the form of a senior capstone, honors project, or any other work.

    If you do not want to use your research from abroad at Macalester, simply follow the guidelines of your study away program. However, you cannot change your mind and later seek IRB approval once the research has begun. If you do not have IRB approval, you will not be able to use any research done during study away for a paper or project at Macalester.

If you want to bring back your research to Macalester (or think you might):

  1. Determine if your study away program has an IRB that is recognized by Macalester.
    If you are unsure, contact the International Center.

  2. If your program has an IRB recognized by Macalester, follow the procedures of your program's IRB. Currently, SIT is the only program whose IRB has been recognized by Macalester. Keep a copy of your research proposal and any response you receive from your program (approval letter, email, etc.). Send this information to the International Center either while you are studying away or immediately upon your return to campus. These documents will be kept in your file at the International Center.

  3. If your study away program does not have an IRB that is recognized by Macalester, then you will need to go through Macalester's Study Abroad Institutional Review Board (SAIRB). You will need to complete the SAIRB Research Questionnaire and send it, along with any supporting materials, to . This should be done after your study away program begins and at least 1-2 weeks before you want to begin your research. This will give SAIRB enough time to review your proposal. Any questions should be directed to the International Center. 

SAIRB Research Questionnaire (PDF)
SAIRB Research Questionnaire (Word document)
SAIRB Sample Disclosure Form (PDF)
SAIRB Sample Disclosure Form (Word document)

Summer Research

Students who began research during an approved study away semester and plan to continue this research during the summer will have their research reviewed by the SAIRB. 

Other students (e.g. those who did not recently study away or those whose summer research is unconnected with semester study away research) will have their research reviewed by the SSIRB