If any aspect of your work involves research with human subjects and you work for the WVDE, these aspects of your work must be reviewed and approved by the WVDE IRB! So, what do we mean by the terms “research” and “human subjects”?


In congruence with the federal regulations, the WVDE defines the term research as “any systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge. Activities that meet this definition constitute research for purposes of the HHS regulations, whether or not they are conducted or supported under a program that is considered research for other purposes.”


The WVDE defines the term human subject as “a living individual about whom an investigator (whether professional or student) conducting research obtains (a) data through intervention or interaction with the individual or (b) identifiable private information.”

Note that, even if you are using a survey or other form of data collection, a project may not be considered research if it is not designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge. A good example is an event evaluation form. If you are using this form only for quality assurance purposes, your project may not meet the definition of research. However, if you are using the results to generalize about the quality of your professional development and to report those results to some audience, your project may be considered research.

The following resources are available to help you determine if your project meets these conditions.

For additional information, contact Patricia Cahape Hammer, IRB chair, at extension 53005 or phammer@k12.wv.us.