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Exempt Review

In Exempt Review, no review by full committee is needed (goes on file). 

Study falls under any one of these categories or criteria. Please indicate any/all criteria that are applicable on Request for Protocol Review form.

Category 1 
Research conducted in established or commonly accepted educational settings, involving normal educational practices, such as: 

(i) research on regular and special education instructional strategies, or 

(ii) research on the effectiveness of or the comparison among instructional techniques, curricula, or classroom management methods.


  • Evaluating the use of accepted or revised standardized tests
  • Testing or comparing a curriculum or lesson
  • A program evaluation of pharmacy continuing education

Category 2 
Research involving the use of educational tests (cognitive, diagnostic, aptitude, achievement), survey procedures, interview procedures or observation of public behavior, unless: 

(i) information obtained is recorded in such a manner that human subjects can be identified, directly or through identifiers linked to the subjects; and 

(ii) any disclosure of the human subjects' responses outside the research could reasonably place the subjects at risk of criminal or civil liability or be damaging to the subjects' financial standing, employability, or reputation.

Note: The section of this category pertaining to standardized educational tests may be applied to research involving children.

This category may also apply to rese arch with children when the investigator observes public behavior but does not participate in that behavior or activity. This section is not applicable to survey or interview research involving children.


  • Surveying teachers, nurses, or doctors about a technique or an outcome
  • Interviewing managers about a management style or best practice
  • Conducting a focus group about an experience or an opinion of a community program

Category 3 
Research involving the use of educational tests (cognitive, diagnostic, aptitude, achievement), survey procedures, interview procedures, or observation of public behavior that is not exempt under paragraph (2) of this section, if: 

(i) the human subjects are elected or appointed public officials or candidates for public office or 

(ii) Federal statute(s) require(s) without exception that the confidentiality of the personally identifiable information will be maintained throughout the research and thereafter.

Example: Interviewing public officials about a local or global issue

Category 4 
Research involving the collection or study of existing* data, documents, records, pathological specimens, or diagnostic specimens, if these sources are publicly available or if the information is recorded by the investigator in such a manner that subjects cannot be identified, directly or through identifiers linked to the subjects.

  • *Note: “Existing” means existing before the research is proposed to the institutional review board to determine whether the research is exempt.

Example: Analyzing existing tissue samples or data set which are recorded by the investigator without identifiers

Category 5 
Research and demonstration projects which are conducted by or subject to the approval of department or agency heads, and which are designed to study, evaluate, or otherwise examine:

(i) Public benefit or service programs

(ii) procedures for obtaining benefits or services under those programs

(iii) possible changes in or alternatives to those programs or procedures

(iv) possible changes in methods or levels of payment for benefits or services under those programs.

Category 6 
Taste and food quality evaluation and consumer acceptance studies:

(i) if wholesome foods without additives are consumed or 

(ii) if a food is consumed that contains a food ingredient at or below the level and for a use found to be safe, or agricultural chemical or environmental contaminant at or below the level found to be safe, by the Food and Drug Administration or approved by the Environmental Protection Agency or the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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