Institutional Review Board

CCBC encourages and supports the learning outcome assessments and institutional effectiveness studies of students, faculty, and staff of the College. Pursuit of scholarly work and research may involve the use of human subjects for data collection and analysis.

Our Institutional Review Board (IRB) reviews proposals involving human subjects to ensure that the rights and welfare of human subjects are protected; that risks have been considered and minimized; that the potential for benefit has been identified and maximized; and that all human subjects are volunteers who choose to participate in research only after being provided with legally effective informed consent. CCBC insists that all research is conducted in an ethical manner and in compliance with established standards. Those individuals seeking to conduct such research at CCBC or using CCBC students, faculty, staff, or resources may not solicit subject participation or begin data collection until they have obtained clearance by CCBC’s Institutional Review Board.

The IRB does not assume the role of evaluating the soundness of the proposed research study, the merits of the research design nor the potential contribution of the research to scholarly literature. IRB does have the responsibility to evaluate the usefulness of the study to CCBC and to evaluate the time (including class and student time as well as staff time and resources) that CCBC might be asked to contribute.

IRB approval of a study does not constitute CCBC sponsorship of the study—it is up to the researcher to arrange any needed volunteer participation of faculty, staff, and/or students.

Frequently asked questions

Does my project require review?

The Community College of Baltimore County — Institutional Review Board (CCBC — IRB) review and approval are required for any research involving research volunteers that: is conducted by CCBC faculty, staff, administration, and/or students; is performed on the premises of CCBC (even if conducted by persons not affiliated with CCBC); if the facilities or equipment of CCBC is being used (even if conducted by persons not affiliated with CCBC); or involves CCBC faculty, staff, or students (even if conducted off-campuses or off-site locations).

Some types of research may not require CCBC — IRB review, or some research may not involve human research volunteers. If you are unsure please send an email to

Why is institutional review required?

It is required for your protection, as well as CCBC’s. The Principal Investigator (PI) is responsible for rectifying any damage caused to a participant in their research project. The IRB is a service that the college provides to assist the PI in avoiding situations where they may inadvertently ask sensitive questions.

What is involved in an institutional review of research?

In most cases, research at CCBC will be conducted in order to satisfy requirements for a Master's or Doctoral degree at another institution. In those cases, you will need to get Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval from the degree-granting institution, and CCBC will be a cooperating institution. If the research is NOT conducted in conjunction with another college or university, CCBC will conduct its own review of the project, applying the standards set forth by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services — Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) in Federal regulations 45 CFR 46.

What is informed consent?

A cornerstone of ethical treatment of human participants is that they know in advance what will be expected of them, what the risks might be, and that they are given the opportunity to freely consent to participate and withdraw that consent at any time without penalty. It may be tempting to add a research task to the activities taking place in a classroom, but to do so without obtaining prior informed consent is unethical. Because this is such a key element of research ethics and one of the most frequent causes for delay in approval most institutions have developed a template for what their IRB wants the consent form to look like.

Do I need a research training course?

Yes, all researchers using research volunteers are required to pass an online research training course. This includes not only the principal investigator (PI) but also all co-investigators, research technicians, research assistants, or student assistants who have contact with the research volunteers.

A course completion report will be issued upon completion of either course. The report must be submitted with the protocol materials.
  • The National Institute of Health (NIH) course at takes approximately 2-3 hours to complete.
  • The Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) course at takes a little longer but is recommended for social/ behavioral/educational researchers because of the elective modules which may be tailored to your own field of study.

How do I start the process?

In most situations, the process starts with your degree-granting institution (if not CCBC) and filing for IRB approval. However, we are open to meet with you when you are still in the design stage and help you steer around common pitfalls when designing your project. Remember that to get approval, you will need to specify all of the details of your design and submit copies of all instruments, consent forms, and certification(s); the sooner you establish these details, the better.

Once you have completed CCBC — IRB's application and obtained IRB approval from your granting institution (if applicable) send your entire IRB packet with approval (if applicable) to

Are there other resources I can turn to?

The Office of Human Research Protections website is the authoritative source on all things IRB.