Difference Between Exempt, Expedited and Full Board

The IRB is authorized to conduct three different levels of review. Depending on the scope and nature of the research being proposed, submissions can be reviewed under:

  • Exempt review
  • Expedited review or
  • Full Board review

Researchers should make the first attempt at determining which application is most appropriate.

Exempt Review

Exempt reviews are conducted by at least one experienced member of the IRB. In order to qualify for review via exempt procedures, the research must not be greater than minimal risk and must fall into at least one of the exempt categories defined by federal regulations.

Minimal risk is defined by the federal regulations as the probability and magnitude of physical or psychological harm that is normally encountered in the daily lives, or in the routine medical, dental, or psychological examination of healthy persons.

Summary of Exempt Categories:

  1. Education research
  2. Surveys, interviews, educational tests, public observations (that do not involve children)
  3. Studies of public officials
  4. Analysis of previously-collected, anonymous data
  5. Public benefit or service program
  6. Consumer acceptance, taste, and food quality studies
View the detailed exempt category descriptions.

Expedited Review

Expedited reviews are conducted by at least one experienced member of the IRB. In order to qualify for review via expedited procedures, the research must not be greater than minimal risk and fall into at least one of the expedited categories defined by the federal regulations.

The expedited review procedure may not be used where identification of the subjects and/or their responses would reasonably place them at risk of criminal or civil liability or be damaging to the subjects financial standing, employability, insurability, reputation, or be stigmatizing, unless reasonable and appropriate protections will be implemented so that risks related to invasion of privacy and breach of confidentiality are no greater than minimal risk.

Summary of Expedited Categories:

  1. Clinical studies of drugs and medical devices only when certain conditions are met
  2. Collection of blood samples by finger stick, heel stick, ear stick, or venipuncture in certain populations and within certain amounts
  3. Prospective collection of biological specimens for research purposes by noninvasive means
  4. Collection of data through noninvasive procedures (not involving general anesthesia or sedation) routinely employed in clinical practice, excluding procedures involving x-rays or microwaves.
  5. Research involving materials (data, documents, records, or specimens) that have been collected, or will be collected solely for non-research purposes
  6. Collection of data from voice, video, digital, or image recordings made for research purposes
  7. Research on individual or group characteristics or behavior or research employing survey, interview, oral history, focus group, program evaluation, human factors evaluation, or quality assurance methodologies
  8. Certain continuing reviews
View the detailed expedited category descriptions.

Full Board Review

Research that is greater than minimal risk and/or does not qualify for exempt or expedited review, as defined by the categories, will be reviewed at the Full Board IRB meeting.

The Full Board IRB meets once a month. For more information regarding the Full Board IRB meeting dates and submission deadlines, please refer to: full board meeting dates.

Where Can I find the IRB Applications?

All applications can be found on the main Office of Research Compliance website.