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Data Collection Involving People at Elgin Community College

Administrative Procedure 3.103

ECC will maintain an Institutional Review Board (IRB) for the purpose of ensuring that data derived from human participants affiliated with ECC (i.e., current, potential or former students; employees or affiliates of ECC) is collected and used in a manner that complies with standards of acceptable practice and federal mandates.1

Committee Membership

The IRB will maintain a chairperson from Institutional Research and representation from the following ECC offices:

  • Legal/Paralegal
  • Human Resources
  • Grants
  • Faculty
  • Student Services

Other representatives may be assigned as needed to ensure that membership is sufficiently qualified in terms of experience, expertise and diversity. The committee will meet as research proposals are submitted or as related committee work arises.


Submissions vary by the type of request being made. Individuals or agencies intending to conduct research to gather new data must complete a Research Project Intake Form to the IRB chair. The intake form shall contain a description of the intended project, a description of the procedures to be used, and informed consent/assent forms for participants.

Individuals or agencies wanting access to ECC data containing individual cases (e.g., student records) must complete a Non-Disclosure Agreement. This agreement specifies how data are to be gathered, used and secured.

In addition, individuals or organizations who are not affiliated with ECC must submit an approval letter from the sponsoring institution.


Upon receipt of these items, the IRB chair or his/her designee will categorize the research proposal into one of three (3) types: no review/exempt, expedited review, or full review (see 45 CFR 46.101(b)).2

No review/Exempt

Proposals that the IRB chair or designee believes provide little benefit for ECC, its students or employees, or research that may cause undue hardship for IRB members in terms of time or commitment will not be reviewed.

Research involving commonly accepted educational practices (e.g., testing, classroom observations) is also exempt from IRB review. Included in this category are: student research assignments, papers and projects; surveys, focus groups or data reports conducted by ECC departments as a part of routine operations; and historical, archival or ethnographic studies.

All other research will be reviewed by the IRB committee (either collectively in person or individually through correspondence) and include:

Expedited Review

Research that presents no more than a minimal risk to participants is subject to an expedited review.3 This category includes the collection of voice or video images and research on individual or group characteristics of behavior (e.g., cognition, language, cultural beliefs and practices, simple physical tasks, and so on).

Full Review

A full review is necessary when the research involves children,4 seriously ill or mentally or cognitively impaired adults, complex physical tasks, or the collection or recording of behaviors which could be damaging or stigmatizing to participants’ reputation, financial standing, employability, insurability, physicality or the like. 


The IRB chair or designee will respond directly to those proposals fitting the definition of no review. Within a month of receipt, the IRB will respond to proposals requiring expedited or full review. Written confirmation of approval or disapproval will be sent to the researcher by the IRB chair or designee and kept on file in the Institutional Research office for a period of three (3) years.

Written confirmation will contain any contingencies noted by the IRB in their review, as well as the following standard conditions:

  • A finite length of time for completion of the proposed research (as indicated on the Research Project Intake Form)
  • Assurance from the researcher that any changes to the research procedures, materials or purpose must be revised and resubmitted to the IRB for further review
  • Removal or masking of any specific references to Elgin Community College
  • Assurance that IRB approval does not waive the right of any participant or individual affiliated with the project (e.g., a participant or co-investigator) to opt-out of participation
  • A copy of the final report, presentation or paper resulting from the research project

1See, e.g. the Code of Federal Regulations (Title 45, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 46). Published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as well as ECC Administrative Procedures.

2In addition, the IRB will provide consultation for any ECC employee seeking feedback on participant recruitment, methodology, etc.

3Minimal risk means that the probability and magnitude of discomfort anticipated by the research are not greater than those ordinarily encountered in daily life or during the performance of routine physical-motor or psychological examinations.

4Children are persons who have not attained the legal age for consent according to applicable law of the jurisdiction in which the research will be conducted.