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Feasibility study: "Feasibility studies are pieces of research done before a main study to answer the question ‘Can this study be done?’ They are used to estimate important parameters that are needed to design the main study”. Data collected would not be analyzed or included in publications.
A researcher planning to conduct interviews regarding landowner perspectives of land use regulations contacts the US Forest Service to ask how they have typically approached land owners in the past and asks for feedback on their planned questions.
Pilot testing: “A small scale-study conducted prior to conducting an actual experiment; designed to test and refine procedures.”
A researcher planning to conduct interviews regarding landowner perspectives of land use regulations conducts interviews with 5 people to test the questions and see if they get answers that make sense. The researchers may revise their interview guides based on the initial data collected.
Q: Does my feasibility study/pilot testing require IRB Review?
A: The federal regulations indicate that pilot testing meets the definition of research involving human subjects and requires IRB review. However, feasibility studies typically do not meet the definition of research involving human subjects and therefore would not require IRB review.
In order for the IRB to determine whether your activities constitute a feasibility study or pilot testing, and subsequently, whether they require IRB review, please complete and submit the initial sections of the new application and protocol form, which can be found on the "Preparing an Initial Submission" page. In this form, it is helpful to note with whom the study or testing is going to be done and how the data will be used.