Process Flow for IRB

The first step starts with the planning of the research project involving human participants or subjects. This needs to be well conceptualized before the process can go forward. If it is a student project, a faculty advisor must be included for consultation in the development of a protocol to be submitted to the IRB. In this process an effort should always be made to eliminate unnecessary risk or potential discomfort for participants. The guidelines detailed below are intended to help new investigators determine if the project falls under the purview of the IRB, and if it does fit within IRB, if the protocol should be proposed for Exempt, Expedited, or Full Board review. If applying for Exempt or Expedited review, you should understand the justifications for the category.

Training and Certification: Pomona requires all investigators and faculty advisors to complete training for Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) through the CITI system. There is a more sophisticated CITI training available explicitly for Social-Behavioral-Educational (SBE) investigators which is recommended for those who want to learn more about guidelines for research with human participants. CITI certificates are expected to be renewed every 3 years.

You will need to input your protocol into the Axiom Mentor IRB Management system. This system will ask you for specifics about your protocol process, your participants, your procedures, potential risks and benefits of participating in your study, your data acquisition, storage, and security, your privacy protections, your consent process, your compensation, etc.  You will need to upload files with any survey or interview questions, assessment instruments, and consent forms.

Upon entering Axiom Mentor select My Protocols on the left hand menu bar. There is a survey tool which helps to confirm that your project belongs within the IRB and then if it does, if it meets the requirements for Exempt, Expedited, or Full Board submission. Axiom will take in your responses and files to create the submission. Only faculty can complete the submission to the IRB. Student protocols must be submitted to the faculty advisor for vetting and final submission.

Axiom Mentor guides for Student Submission of a New IRB Protocol and for Submitting a New Protocol (for Faculty and Students) help explain how to navigate the IRB software.

Timeline for IRB Review: Once submitted, your protocol will be reviewed by the IRB manager and members of the IRB, after which, you will either be contacted to make revisions or given IRB approval. This review process takes time, a simple Exempt protocol done correctly might be approved in two weeks time, but a complicated Full Board protocol requiring revisions can take much longer. All IRB panel members have primary work outside the IRB process! You can see the stages and status of your protocols within Axiom Mentor. The full committee typically convenes only when the college is in session.