EXEMPT [§46.101(b)] Research activities in which the only involvement of human subjects will be in one or more of the following categories must be reviewed by the IRB, but are exempt from 45CFR46. 

(1) Research conducted in established or commonly accepted educational settings, involving normal educational practices, such as:

  • research on regular and special education instructional strategies, or
  • research on the effectiveness of or the comparison among instructional techniques, curricula, or classroom management methods.

(2) Research involving the use of educational tests (cognitive, diagnostic, aptitude, achievement), survey procedures, interview procedures or observation of public behavior, unless:

  • information obtained is recorded in such a manner that human subjects can be identified, directly or through identifiers linked to the subjects; and
  • any disclosure of the human subjects' responses outside the research could reasonably place the subjects at risk of criminal or civil liability or be damaging to the subjects' financial standing, employability, or reputation.

    Exceptions: (a) Research involving surveys, interviews, or observations of public behavior is not exempt if the study involves minors and the study team is participating in the activities being observed; (b) research with prisoners.

    Note: At the discretion of the IRB, studies qualifying for an exemption in this category may include activities which supplement or help to inform procedures in this category. Additional activities must be without risk and passive in nature, such as watching a video, looking at pictures, or listening to an audio file. The inclusion of additional activities which are active in nature, such as performing a task, will generally result in the study being reviewed by an expedited procedure.

(3) Research involving the use of educational tests (cognitive, diagnostic, aptitude, achievement), survey procedures, interview procedures, or observation of public behavior that is not exempt under paragraph (b)(2) of this section, if:

  • the human subjects are elected or appointed public officials or candidates for public office; or
  • federal statute(s) require(s) without exception that the confidentiality of the personally identifiable information will be maintained throughout the research and thereafter.

(4) Research involving the collection or study of existing data, documents, records, pathological specimens, or diagnostic specimens, if these sources are publicly available or if the information is recorded by the investigator in such a manner that subjects cannot be identified, directly or through identifiers linked to the subjects.

(5) Research and demonstration projects which are conducted by or subject to the approval of department or agency heads, and which are designed to study, evaluate, or otherwise examine the following:

  • public benefit or service programs;
  • procedures for obtaining benefits or services under those programs;
  • possible changes in or alternatives to those programs or procedures; or
  • possible changes in methods or levels of payment for benefits or services under those programs.

(6) Taste and food quality evaluation and consumer acceptance studies, if:

  • wholesome foods without additives are consumed or
  • a food is consumed that contains a food ingredient at or below the level and for a use found to be safe, or agricultural chemical or environmental contaminant at or below the level found to be safe, by the Food and Drug Administration or approved by the Environmental Protection Agency or the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.