University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

College Honors

Advice Regarding Honors Student Research

Thesis Supervisors and students planning on conducting College Honors research should consider the following information.

Note that this document is not intended to be exhaustive, nor does it include everything students would need to know. More complete information, including tutorials and forms can be found on the the Committees on Human Research website.

  • Any research that students conduct (undergraduate students as well as graduate) with human subjects (e.g. interviews, surveys, experiments, etc.) is subject to Institutional Review.
  • Student research is held to the same standards as faculty research.
  • Some research can be exempt or expedited based on several factors. (NOTE: One of the most important factors is how subject identity will be kept and remain confidential by the research team. The primary risk for Exempt and Expedited studies generally is an accidental breach of confidential data.
    • These are generally research that does not involve:
      • Vulnerable populations (children under 18, pregnant women, prisoners, and mentally disabled)
      • Collecting sensitive information, such as sexual behavior or drug use
      • Psychologically or emotionally upsetting events
      • Physically invasive devices
      • Manipulation/deception
  • Full committee review is required in any research with human subjects with vulnerable populations, sensitive information, or emotionally upsetting events. The Institutional Review Board (IRB) explicitly discourages undergraduate students from engaging in research of this kind.(NOTE: If the sensitive data is collected without any identifiers, then this research could potentially be reviewed under the Exempt or Expedited Category. )
  • Full committee review requires submission of protocol (found on website) explaining all methods, procedures for obtaining consent, etc. The main concerns of the committee are regarding a) informed consent; b) coercion; c) protection of privacy. Any protocol needs to address all of these concerns in detail.
  • Protocols should be submitted well in advance of the student's intended data collection start date. The committee meets once a month, and protocols usually involve at least one revision (The once a month calendar is only for FULL submissions. Expedited and Exempt submissions can be submitted any day and are reviewed generally on a weekly basis with a 10-14 day turn around if we are not too busy. Students will be contacted electronically to clarify and/or revise any issues. Approval notifications follow once all pending concerns have been addressed.
  • Students are prohibited from beginning their data collection process until the Institutional Review Board (IRB) has formally approved them to proceed.
  • Faculty sponsors are responsible for assisting with the Institutional Review Board (IRB) process, as well as monitoring the protection of human subjects as the research project proceeds

Students or thesis supervisors may, of course, contact The Office of Sponsored Programs at 656-5040.

Last modified June 10 2015 06:33 PM