Inquiries Involving People: How to Determine Your Project Type

St. Olaf College affirms the ethical principles of respectbeneficence, and justice in all inquiries that involve gathering information from or about people, whether through surveys, interviews, focus groups, observations of behavior, or analysis of existing records.  Different types of inquiry projects require different kinds of education, planning, forms, and review procedures to ensure that these principles are reflected in project designs.  So the first step in project planning is to determine the type of project you will be doing.

Answer each of these questions to determine your project type.

Hover your cursor over each item in red for a definition:

Will your project:

(1)    …pose some kind of risk for the people being studied?
(2)    …focus on the study of a vulnerable population?
(3)    …have funding from a federal agency that has adopted federal regulations governing the protection of human subjects?

If you answered yes to any of #1, 2, or 3 above, your project is Type 3 (a project involving risk or studying vulnerable subjects).

If not, will your project…

(4)    …study individuals outside St. Olaf (i.e., not current students or employees)?
(5)    …potentially include the sharing of results with audiences beyond St. Olaf?

If you answered yes to either or both of #4 or 5 above, your project is Type 2 (a beyond-the-college no-risk project).

If you answered no to all five questions above, your project is Type 1 (a within-the college no-risk project).

Once you have identified your project type, consult one of the following summary charts to determine the education and training you will need to complete, the forms you will need to use, and your project’s appropriate review procedures.