Internships, Co-ops, Field Experiences and Research Memo

As a UW-Stout student participating in an internship, co-op or other off campus experience, you may be involved in projects that require collecting data from people.  For example these projects may involve surveys.  These could be for your employer/business or for your own research using the employer/company data.

This memo explains how and why data gathered during a student’s off campus experience may need to be reviewed.  The Institutional Review Board (IRB) for the Protection of Human Subjects in Research is required by federal law CFR Title 45, Part 46.  Our responsibilities include reviewing research that includes human subjects in an effort to protect both participants and researcher.

Here are the main points we would like to bring to your attention:

#1: If the student conducts research with people (survey/experiment) for the company while involved in any off-campus experience and the results will not leave the company in any way (no dissemination, no publications), then there is no need for IRB approval since the student is not conducting "research" as defined by federal guidelines.

#2: If the student is considering using human subject data gathered during their off-campus experience for their own thesis/project, then the student needs to go through the IRB process.  This means a 10-day turnaround at minimum before the data gathering can take place.  The supervisor (Employer & Co-Op Mentor) of the student should be made aware of this as soon as possible.  Ideally, if the student is even considering using data gathered on internship, the Employer and Co-Op Mentor should be made aware of this at the beginning of the experience.

#3: A general rule is that all research involving human subjects needs to go through IRB approval.