Human Subjects Approval

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Human Subjects Approval is done to protect the rights and welfare of the human subjects in a research project.

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All impact evaluations must be fully compliant with both local and international Institutional Review Boards (IRB). Local IRB approvals vary by country; research local regulations when the impact evaluation is designed. IRB approval is required for:

  • Studies interacting with human subjects for the purposes of research
  • Studies collecting data on individuals including personally identifying information
  • Studies using data collected from individuals that includes personally identifying information

All researchers should be certified in conducting ethical research on human subjects. All surveys require informed consent from every respondent.


Where to seek IRB approval

International IRB approvals: The World Bank does not have an IRB. Typically, IRB approval is sought from partner academic / research organizations (e.g. universities, Innovation for Poverty Action [1]).

Where to seek Human Subjects Research certification

The National Institute for Health (NIH) offers a free course on Protecting Human Research Participants

The Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) offers a course on Human Subjects Research

Who needs to be included in ethics certification?

All members of the research team who will manage surveys and work with personally identified data must complete training on conducting research with human subjects. All surveys require informed consent from every respondent.

Additional Resources

Please feel free to add here articles related to this topic, with a brief description and link

MIT's Committee on the Use of Humans as Experimental Subjects (COUHES) offers examples of IRB applications, informed consent, and authorization forms: