Research Ethics for Inquiries Involving People

Faculty, staff, and students at St. Olaf frequently undertake inquiry projects that involve collecting or analyzing information from or about people, whether through surveys, interviews, focus groups, observations of behavior, or analysis of existing records.  Investigators who study people incur a variety of ethical and legal obligations to respect and protect the people they study.  St. Olaf is accountable to the federal Office of Human Research Protections (OHRP) for the ethical conduct of these inquiries.

The college affirms the ethical principles of respectbeneficence, and justice in all inquiries that include the collection or analysis of information from or about people.  These principles inform federal policy for the protection of human subjects; the education and training required of St. Olaf investigators and project supervisors; the plans that investigators must prepare for protecting the rights and well-being of the people they study; and the criteria for reviewing these plans to determine whether they provide appropriate protections.

Although the principles of respect, beneficence, and justice must be observed in all inquiry projects involving people, different kinds of projects require different kinds of investigator preparation, project planning, and prior approval.  Use the links on the left to learn more about St. Olaf’s research ethics policies, educational requirements, and project planning forms.

Research ethics practices at St. Olaf are overseen by the St. Olaf Institutional Review Board.  You are encouraged to contact the IRB Administrator with questions about college policies, ethics training requirements, and review procedures.