Student Research

Students can be engaged in research as a “Student Investigator” or as a participant. This page is meant for Campbell Students as Student Investigators.¬†

Download Guidance on Students as Research Participants


At Campbell University students cannot be principal investigators on an IRB submission.

Responsibility of faculty/staff who mentor students:

  • Mentoring and monitoring the student in all aspects of the research study
  • Verifying the submissions to the IRB are complete and accurate
  • Submitting the IRB materials as the principal investigator
  • Accompany student on any discussions with the IRB

The PI has the final responsibility for all aspects of the study and will be held accountable in any case of non-compliance or research misconduct.

Student Research in the Classroom

In some classes, students are asked to conduct research (e.g., surveys, small experiments, observation of human behavior, etc.) to fulfill course requirements. The misconception exists that because research takes place in or as part of a classroom, it is not “research” and does not need IRB oversight. This is not correct. Many classroom research activities at Campbell University qualify as human subjects research and should have IRB oversight. It is best to have a conversation with the IRB before conducting any classroom research.

Given the limited time and low-risk nature of many classroom research projects, the Campbell IRB has created a group submission. This group submission is only available for undergraduate courses where research is performed within a course’s curriculum or as a group of honors projects. ¬†Submission requirements are shortened to allow for implementation in a semester-long course. Group submission projects that obtain IRB determination of exempt status can be presented or published. The faculty member should liaise with the IRB before the start of the course.

Projects with any of the following characteristics will not be approved for undergraduate classroom-based projects:

  • Recruiting vulnerable populations (minors/children, prisoners, cognitively impaired, homeless, veterans/active military, etc.).
  • Deception of research subjects
  • Coercion or undue influence (e.g., extra class credit for project participation)
  • Funded projects (internal or external)
  • Accessing medical record data, student educational record data, or sensitive personal questions (e.g., about criminal activities or financial information)
  • Payments of study subjects.

The following documents are required to be submitted by the faculty/instructor of the course. Please see IRB SOP: Undergraduate Classroom Projects for Educational Purposes Only for detailed procedures for submitting to the IRB.

IRB evaluation and permission for compiled student course projects typically takes 3-4 business days for projects that meet the criteria. If the IRB finds one of the projects does not meet the criteria, a regular IRB submission will be required.

Doctoral dissertations, funded research, research conducted through collaborations external to Campbell University, as well as Master theses must be reviewed and approved by the IRB using the normal protocol submission pathway before students may begin their research.