This guidance document defines the standards and parameters for the involvement of OSU students and employees in research.

Students and employees recruited as research subjects are more vulnerable to coercion because of the possibility that they may perceive grades, employment or other benefits as dependent upon their participation in research.  Students and employees are at greater risk of experiencing negative ramifications related to an inability to maintain strict confidentiality and because more information is known about these individuals than is collected during the course of the study.

The IRB considers these individuals to be more vulnerable to coercion (real or perceived) and to issues related to confidentiality than individuals not affiliated with OSU and, therefore, will apply additional safeguards to protect their rights and welfare.  

Recruitment of Students

Justification for Targeting Students: Researchers who plan to exclude individuals who are not students must be able to provide a rationale, other than convenience, for restricting the study population to students and must show that the recruitment method does not lead potential subjects to think they will be compromised by not participating.  Examples of such rationale include: a) participation as a valuable educational experience demonstrated by a substantive plan for debriefing, b) the need for an alternative mechanism for study compensation (e.g. extra credit) due to lack of monetary resources, c) the existence of a formal student subject pool and related departmental policy.   Note that investigators and instructors may not impose penalties on students who fail to show up for scheduled research-related appointments.

Direct Recruitment: Investigators may make study-related announcements (such as study title and investigator contact information) or provide recruitment materials (such as fliers) to students in OSU classrooms, so long as the investigator is not also the class instructor.  Exceptions may be granted if the purpose of the research is directly connected to students in a particular class.  For example, if the research is intended to examine teaching methods in a particular course taught by the investigator.  Recruitment methods should permit students to self-identify outside of the classroom so as to maintain confidentiality and minimize the potential for peer pressure.  For example, students should be provided with contact information for a study team member who they may contact for more information after class, rather than be asked to express interest at the time of the announcement.

Indirect Recruitment:  IRB-approved recruitment materials may be posted anywhere on the OSU campus with the appropriate departmental permission (e.g. unit office sign-off if necessary).

Mass email from Registrar: Investigators seeking approval from the Registrar’s Office to email recruitment materials or study announcements to students must explain this recruitment method in the protocol and provide the Registrar with a copy of the IRB approval letter before such an email may be sent.  The Registrar may or may not grant such a request, regardless of IRB approval.

Consent: A student may not be compelled to participate in research as part of a course requirement.  Investigators will ensure that students know that they may choose not to participate in the research and that their decision will not affect their grade, class standing, or relationship with any instructor.

Extra Credit: If extra credit is offered in exchange for participation, an alternate means of earning equivalent extra credit for an equivalent commitment of time and effort should be made available for those who cannot, or choose not to participate in a study.

Use of Class Time: Submissions proposing the use of class time for research should include an explanation of the benefit of the research to the students. Specifically, the investigator should explain how participation in the research would be a learning experience for the students and how the research is relevant to the course of study being taught in that class. An alternative activity should be provided for students who choose not to participate.

Use of Class Assignments in Research: Instructors should not use their students' class assignments (e.g., journals, term papers, etc.) in research without the prior permission from the Registrar and the consent of the students.

    Recruitment of Employees

    Justification for Targeting Employees: Researchers who plan to exclude individuals who are not employees must be able to provide a rationale, other than convenience, for restricting the study population to employees and must show that the recruitment method does not lead potential subjects to think they will be compromised by not participating.

    Consent: An employee may not be required to participate in research as a condition of employment. Investigators will ensure that employees know that they may choose not to participate in the research and that their decision will not affect their employment or benefits at OSU.

    Direct Recruitment: Investigators may make study-related announcements or provide recruitment materials to employees at regular meetings.  However, recruitment methods should permit employees to self-identify as interested in participation in a way that maintains confidentiality.  For example, employees should be provided with contact information for a study team member who they may contact for more information.

    Indirect Recruitment:  IRB-approved recruitment materials may be posted anywhere on the OSU campus with the appropriate departmental permission (e.g. unit office sign-off if necessary).

      Guidance Version Date: 1/15/2013