North Central College - Naperville, IL

Research Ethics

Consistent with our mission, North Central College strives to be an ethical institution. We recognize that an ethical institution is more than just a collection of ethical individuals; rather, an ethical institution creates policies and procedures that encourage high ethical standards. With this in mind, North Central College has created a Research Ethics Committee, for the purpose of safeguarding the welfare of human participants and animal subjects in research.

The following guidelines are meant to help researchers at North Central College navigate the research ethics review process. More details can be found on accompanying pages.

There are three issues a researcher should consider when considering submitting a proposal to the Research Ethics Committee.

1. Does my research fall within the purview of the Research Ethics Committee?

Not all research falls within the purview of the Research Ethics Committee. See the description below for an explanation of what kinds of research are subject to review by the Committee.

2. If your research does fall within the purview of the Committee, does it meet the requirements for exempt status?

If a researcher believes that his or her research warrants exempt status, that researcher will forward a paragraph to the Committee Chair explaining why the research is exempt. This Request for Exemption will cite applicable specific criteria for exemption (see Exempt Research)  from this document. Requests for Exemption will then be forwarded to a Committee Member, and will be reviewed by that person in a timely manner. Research protocols found to be exempt will not be subject to future review unless the protocol changes.

3. If your research does not meet the requirements for exempt status, you should then complete an application for review. Cover pages are available at Responsibilities of Researchers .

The Committee with decide whether your application will receive Expedited Review  or Full Review .

The Purview of the Research Ethics Committee

The purview of the Research Ethics Committee extends to all systematic data collection (using living human or nonhuman vertebrate animal subjects, regardless of the number of subjects used), for which the researcher intends to disseminate findings to any audience beyond the research participants themselves. Due to the special ethical issues involved, all data collection using non-human vertebrate animals will be considered within the purview of the Committee, as will all program evaluation research. Further, all data collection in which researchers are collecting data from participants who are not part of the researcher group, and all experiments on human participants that might potentially cause physical harm (even if participants are members of the researcher group) will be considered research that is subject to review by the Committee.

In order to best protect participants "dissemination of findings" will be interpreted broadly. Examples of dissemination might include presenting findings at the Rall Symposium, writing up findings for the Honors Thesis collection in the library, or discussing findings with a newspaper reporter, as well as more conventional conference presentations and publications.

All members of the NCC community who are gathering data that falls outside of the purview of the Committee are strongly encouraged to adhere to the guidelines for ethical data collection contained in this document anyway. Members of the NCC community are welcome to consult with committee members (Committee Membership) if they are unclear about whether their data collection is subject to oversight by the committee, or if they want feedback on the ethical issues pertaining to their data collection.  If a member of the NCC community gathers data not intending to disseminate it (and therefore doesn't submit the protocol for review), and later decides to disseminate the findings, the Research Ethics Committee will then review the data collection procedures used to ensure that they were consistent with the ethical guidelines contained in this document.

 All faculty need to read this document to acquaint themselves with federal requirements. After you have read this document, please complete the Verification Form