Institutional Review Board (IRB)

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UPDATED January 19, 2021: Important information from the Murray State University Institutional Review Board (IRB) regarding the COVID-19 outbreak

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak and as part of our efforts to minimize risks to research participants, the Murray State Institutional Review Board (IRB) currently recommends that all researchers use remote data collection procedures whenever possible to reduce the chances of exposing themselves or others to infection from the virus. However, as part of the Murray State Racer Restart effort and with the understanding that not all research can be conducted remotely, the IRB has developed the following guidance for researchers wishing to conduct in-person research.

NOTE: The IRB will continue to monitor the situation and will be regularly revising this policy as time goes on. Researchers are strongly encouraged to return to this page to review any new information that may published and download updated forms before submitting each new protocol.

Researchers wishing to conduct research that involves any in-person or face-to-face procedures must complete the COVID-19 In-Person Research Questionnaire and submit it along with their completed application for review. The questionnaire can be found in Part E of the updated  Application for IRB Review  which can be downloaded from this link or the usual link at the bottom of this page. Level 1 protocols involving in-person research procedures will be reviewed through the IRB Subcommittee process, similar to Level 2 research. This may result in up to a week of additional processing time, so researchers should adjust their submission timeline accordingly. Sample language for informed consent documents can be found below and in the questionnaire.

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Example language for protocols and informed consent:

The following steps are being taken to address the risk of coronavirus infection: 

Screening: Researchers and participants who show potential symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath, etc.) will NOT participate in this study at this time. 

Physical distancing: Whenever possible, we will maintain at least 6 feet of distance between persons while conducting the study. 

Mask/Covering: Researchers will wear and participants (SELECT ONE) [  ] will be advised or [  ] will be required to shield their mouth and nose with a cloth face cover or mask during the study, even when maintaining at least 6 feet of distance. Tissues will be available to cover coughs and sneezes.

Handwashing: Researchers and participants will wash hands before/during (activity) or use a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. 

Disinfecting materials: When feasible, researchers will clean and disinfect surfaces between participants, using an EPA-registered disinfectant or a bleach solution (5 tablespoons of regular bleach per gallon of water) for hard materials and by laundering soft materials. Disinfected materials will be handled using gloves, paper towels, plastic wrap, or storage bags to reduce the chance of re-contamination of materials.

Electronics: Alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol will be used to disinfect shared touch screens, mice, keyboards, etc. Surfaces will be dried to avoid the pooling of liquids.

The questionnaire does not need to be completed in the following situations:

  1. Protocols where data collection is only being done electronically or by phone (i.e. online surveys, video conferencing, telephone interviews, or other remote contact methods)
  2. Protocols where data collection has been completed and there will be no additional in-person contact with participants.
  3. Any other protocols that do not involve in-person contact with participants (i.e. secondary analysis of existing data)
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Researchers with a currently approved protocol who want to begin or resume using in-person or face-to-face procedures can apply for an amendment to their protocol. Such an amendment may be requested using the following procedure:

    1. Download the Approved Protocol Amendment Form found at
    2. Fill out the information requested on the form, being sure to include the following items:
      1. A description of any changes to the recruitment methods including the new script, advertisement, or email message. These must be submitted as .doc files.
      2. A description of any changes to the consent process, including the revised cover letter or consent form. The COVID-19 Questionnaire includes sample language for reference.
      3. A working link to any online surveys or data collection forms.
      4. A description of any changes to the data storage procedures.
    3. Download and complete the standalone COVID-19 In-Person Research Questionnaire.
    4. Submit the Amendment Form, COVID-19 Questionnaire, and supporting documents by email to and await approval before implementing the new research procedures.


This process will remain in place for the foreseeable future and researchers who intend to submit an application should plan around these restrictions or contact the IRB Coordinator for additional guidance before submitting their application. Since these changes are likely to impact many students as well as faculty, the IRB urges everyone to be as flexible as possible in their practical research requirements for their courses and programs.

Thank you all very much for your understanding and cooperation and please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.


The Murray State Institutional Review Board (IRB) reviews research protocol applications involving human subjects in order to ensure the rights of subjects are protected, including but not necessarily limited to ensuring that the research conforms to the Code of Federal Regulations.

Jonathan Baskin, CIP
Institutional Review Board
328 Wells Hall
Murray State University

 IRB Submission Procedure: 

All IRB materials (applications, amendments, project update/closures, adverse event reports) must be submitted to the IRB Coordinator via email at All student applications must be submitted by the faculty mentor. An electronic signature option is currently not available for the forms, so signed documents must be scanned/saved as pdf documents and relevant supporting materials saved as editable Word documents prior to emailing them. Please do not submit paper copies of any IRB applications or materials unless it is requested by the IRB Coordinator. Future paper submissions will be shredded to preserve confidentiality. For a more detailed explanation, please refer to the Murray State IRB Application Process.

IRB Procedures and Guidelines

CITI Human Subjects Research Training 

Download Application for IRB Review

Guide for Completing the IRB application

Download Approved Protocol Amendment form

Tips for Informed Consent

Download Project Update and Closure form

IRB: The Basics

Download Adverse Event form

Federal Regulations for IRBs

IRB Meeting Dates and Application Deadlines

National Organizations for the IRB

IRB Members

Government Agency Sites