Protecting Human Research Subjects
Research involving human subjects can pose complex ethical issues that require careful thought and consideration on the part of both researchers and participants. Research teams must seek ethics certifications for human subjects approval to apply for and obtain IRB approval and to protect the rights and welfare of study participants in a research project. This page will discuss the when, how, and who of ethics certifications for human research subjects.
- To protect the rights and welfare of study participants, IRBs require ethics certifications; depending on IRB requirements, these may be obtained via NIH, CITI, or elsewhere.
- For more information on how to protect human research subjects, see, for example, IRB Approval, Informed Consent, De-identification, and Encryption
As a prerequisite for IRB approval, members of the research team who manage personally identifiable information (PII) must obtain ethics certifications to conduct research with human subjects. This may include principal investigators, research assistants, field coordinators, and/or survey firm staff. Two commonly accepted sources of certification are:
- The National Institute for Health (NIH), which offers a free course on Protecting Human Research Participants, and
- The Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI), which offers a course on Human Subjects Research
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This article is part of the topic Research Ethics