Institutional Review Board (IRB)

Directional signsThe Institutional Review Board (IRB) at the College of Coastal Georgia is responsible for reviewing and approving all research conducted under the auspices of the College involving human participants. The primary objective of the IRB is to protect human subjects. We follow The Belmont Report (1979), which delineates the ethical principles identified by the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research. The three major guiding principles of the IRB at the College of Coastal Georgia, reproduced from The Belmont Report, are the following:

Respect for Persons

"Respect for persons incorporates at least two ethical convictions: first, that individuals should be treated as autonomous agents, and second, that persons with diminished autonomy are entitled to protection. The principle of respect for persons thus divides into two separate moral requirements: the requirement to acknowledge autonomy and the requirement to protect those with diminished autonomy."


"Persons are treated in an ethical manner not only by respecting their decisions and protecting them from harm, but also by making efforts to secure their well-being. Such treatment falls under the principle of beneficence. The term "beneficence" is often understood to cover acts of kindness or charity that go beyond strict obligation. In this document, beneficence is understood in a stronger sense, as an obligation. Two general rules have been formulated as complementary expressions of beneficent actions in this sense: (1) do not harm and (2) maximize possible benefits and minimize possible harms."


"Who ought to receive the benefits of research and bear its burdens? This is a question of justice, in the sense of "fairness in distribution" or "what is deserved." An injustice occurs when some benefit to which a person is entitled is denied without good reason or when some burden is imposed unduly."

These principles were incorporated into "The Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects" aka "The Common Rule". The IRB at the College of Coastal Georgia applies "The Common Rule" in reviewing research protocols, participant consent forms and documents, investigator credentials, etc., to ensure compliance with federal regulations and ethical guidelines in regards to the safety and well-being of participants in research.

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