Central Washington University established an institutional review board (IRB) in 2001. The IRB is an oversight committee, administratively independent of the institution it serves. At CWU, this committee is called the Human Subjects Review Council (HSRC). It is the role of the HSRC to safeguard the rights and welfare of human subjects by evaluating the risks and benefits of the research to assure an acceptable balance.
The HSRC is charged with reviewing all research involving human subjects to ensure the research complies with institutional policies, state (WAC 388-04), and federal laws (45 CFR Part 46). It is the policy of CWU (see full policy) that all research involving human subjects regardless of funding source be reviewed by the HSRC. The involvement of human subjects research conducted by CWU students, staff or faculty is not permitted until the HSRC has reviewed and approved the research protocol. Even if, according to the regulations, the research appears to be exempt from review all researchers will submit applications for approval or certification of their research activities. Analysis of secondary data may also be considered human subjects data and fall under the purview of the HSRC.
Ultimately, it is the goal of the HSRC to be partners with investigators in research, encouraging open communication in an atmosphere of mutual respect and support that promotes ethical and responsible research.
Social media has the potential to change social science research, but with it come new ethical impli