Institutional Review Boards

Institutional review boards (IRBs) are committees established to oversee research conducted using human participants. Most IRBs are at colleges, universities, or other institutions where research is conducted with human participants, but some are independent or for-profit organizations. There are also committees that go by other names, such as Human Subjects Committee, though they function very similarly to IRBs. The main charge of these committees is to conduct reviews of research studies to ensure that the rights and welfare of human participants are being protected. Although this term typically refers to committees in the United States, other countries have comparable regulatory systems and/or bodies. This entry describes the structure and function of IRBs, provides historical context, and details the tasks of the IRB.

Structure and Function

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