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Institutional Review Board (IRB): International Research

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International Research

You are considered to be conducting international research if you and/or your participants will be on-the-ground in a country outside of the United States.

If you will be conducting international research, you must review the International Compilation of Human Research Standards and determine the research regulations for the country where you will be doing your research. Please note that the NCU IRB can only support research in countries that are listed in the International Compilation of Human Research Standards.

If you choose to do international research, please note that you will be responsible for following the research regulations of the country; establishing contact with an appropriate office, institution, or authority; following all of their instructions and guidance; and contacting them directly if you have questions about their requirements. Their review process might take months, and their approval is not guaranteed. You should determine how long it might take to go through their process and decide if you are willing to spend that time. If you decide to go through a lengthy review process with another country, you can talk to your chair or advisor about taking a leave of absence.

You are also responsible for learning and respecting the cultural norms, values, and belief systems of the country. If your participants will not be fluent in English, you must ensure that all participant-facing documents (recruitment materials, consent letter, data collection instruments, etc.) are available in the native language(s) of the participants and that participants can communicate with someone who is fluent in their language(s).

If you are fluent in the same language(s) as your participants, you can translate your documents yourself. If you are not fluent in the same language(s) as your participants, you will need to hire a certified translator for your participant-facing documents and hire an interpreter to be present for all interactions between you and your participants. You will need to obtain a signed confidentiality agreement for each private translator and interpreter you hire.

IRB Policy for International Research

The NCU IRB can only support research in countries that are listed in the International Compilation of Human Research Standards.

If the researcher and/or the potential participants will be on-the-ground in a country that is not listed in the International Compilation of Human Research Standards, the NCU IRB cannot review or approve the study. The researcher will need to redesign their study or find an independent IRB outside of NCU that has AAHRP accreditation and is willing to review their application at the researcher's expense. Researchers should understand that independent IRBs can be costly, and their approval is not guaranteed.

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