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Institutional Review Board

SNU IRB COVID-19 Update (Monday, March 30, 2020)

In light of the spread of COVID 19 and Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines on social distancing, the following guidelines are temporarily in place until further notice:

  • All face-to-face research projects will need to submit a document outlining how their study/protocol is changing to accommodate social distancing measures. Failure to do so will result in a withdrawal of IRB approval.
  • All future projects requiring survey/interviews/face-to-face interaction must move to an online or phone platform (Zoom, facetime, phone call, etc.).
  • Projects that require contact with an at-risk population of COVID-19 (over the age of 60, immuno-compromised persons, etc.) must clearly outline steps that researchers will take to ensure the health and protection of these individuals. Research involving such persons will automatically be considered for full-board review.
  • All approval letters will contain the condition that in-person contact may only begin when institutional, CDC, federal, state and local guidelines for safety suggest that it is safe to do so.
  • Given these new requirements, turnaround time on applications is expanded to the following timeframes:

    • Exempt: 1-2 weeks
    • Expedited: 2-3 weeks
    • Full Review: 6-8 weeks
  • Outside research approved from other institutions will be prohibited from face-to-face studies on campus/with SNU students/faculty/staff.

The Institutional Review Board's purpose is to protect human participants in research conducted under the auspices of Southern Nazarene University. Five faculty members from across disciplines and programs and one member of the community are on the IRB. All research in connection with SNU is subject to the review process. A copy of the research proposal and any test, survey, or interview questions must accompany the IRB application.

There are specific procedures for getting approvals and other help from the IRB. If human participants are to be a part of a study, the researcher should select the appropriate level of review for the IRB application. The levels are as follows:

  1. Exempt does not require full review, but must be certified as "Exempt" by the board. Examples of research that would be likely so categorized are in typical instructional settings involving usual educational practices, surveys, or interviews. In any case the participant must not be able to be identified by name or demographic characteristics.
  2. Expedited studies that present minimal risk to the participants. This level would involve participants that are at least18 years old and are not part of a vulnerable population (children, pregnant women and fetuses, prisoners, mentally disabled are vulnerable). Examples of methods used at this level are voice recordings, moderate exercise, tests that involve neither manipulation of participants' behavior nor stress to the participant.
  3. Full Board Review research involving vulnerable populations, any project not meeting the criteria for exempt or expedited review. Regardless of the category selected originally, the application may be shifted to the full-board-review status.

Note: No data for a study can be collected before receiving IRB approval, so sufficient time for review must be allowed by a researcher before initiating a study. The levels of review involve different lengths of time ranging from a few days to several weeks especially when a full board review is necessary. When more information is requested and/or revisions are necessary, the processing time is lengthened.

The completed application with the appropriate number of copies (see Guidelines) and appropriate attachments should be submitted to

Upon approval, the applicant will receive written notification. At that point the researcher may begin data collection.

Download the Review Board Application.

Our Nazarene Heritage
Founded in 1899, Southern Nazarene University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university - a service of the Church of the Nazarene. Located on a 40-acre campus just west of Oklahoma City, SNU grew out of several small colleges committed to educating people for lives of service to God, leadership, and reconciliation toward their neighbors and within the global community. More than 32,000 alumni work and serve throughout the United States and the world. Read About Our Heritage

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