Committee on Human Subjects in Research (CHSR)
Student Research Projects and Classroom Projects
LAU and Non LAU Students conducting research project at the Lebanese American University (LAU) or University Medical Center Rizk Hospital (UMCRH) must receive the necessary approval from the Committee on Human Subject Research (CHSR) at LAU as detailed below. Please read the following information carefully in order to identify which category your research falls under.
LAU students, conducting their research outside LAU or UMCRH, must receive approval from the CHSR at LAU as well as approval from the respective committee responsible for research involving human subjects or necessary approval where the study will be conducted.
Students are subject to the same requirements and policies set forth for the conduct of research as described below.
Research, as defined in the Regulations - CFR Title 45, Part 46, is a systematic investigation (an organized, scientific way of collecting information, using a series of questions or observations) designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge (i.e. knowledge shared by professionals in a given field which is designed to contribute to that field).
Data is collected from a “human subject”, who is a living individual about whom an investigator (a faculty member, staff or student) conducting research obtains (1) data through intervention or interaction with the individual, or (2) identifiable private information.
Above definitions are important to remember when students (undergraduate and/or graduate) are planning to conduct independent class projects, senior or honor’s theses, master’s projects, doctoral dissertations, or participate in research methodology courses. Application and submission procedures and requirements for students to follow are described in below two categories:
- Category 1 (Student Research)
- Category 2 (Classroom Projects)
Mentor / Faculty Advisor
Each student must have a mentor or a faculty advisor where the research will be taking place. The faculty advisor or mentor must be available to assist the student with developing their protocol, preparing all required documents for submission to the CHSR and securing appropriate approvals prior to commencing their research.
Faculty advisors play an important role in the students’ design and development of human participant research projects. Faculty advisors are ultimately responsible for the protection of the subjects, even if the student is the primary researcher and actually directs the project, and are also responsible for research that is conducted as part of a course.
Faculty advisors and course instructors are required to review codes of ethics relevant to the discipline of study.
Categories of Research Projects by Students
Below are the two categories detailing submission requirement. Regardless which category your research project falls under, it is important to include an introductory information section prior to any data collection tool such as surveys, interview scripts, questionnaires etc. Sample introductions are available under Applications, Forms and Supporting Documents on the CHSR website.
Category 1- Student Research
Student research activities include, but are not limited to, projects that result in undergraduate honors theses, masters theses, or doctoral dissertations.
Student researchers have the same submission options as any investigator. They may submit as Principal Investigator (PI) with a faculty advisor as co-signator, which may be appropriate for new projects where the student has a leading role.
Student researcher, co-investigators (if a group) and faculty advisor / classroom instructors are required to have current research ethics certification.
Category 2- Classroom Projects
Classroom project activities as part of Graduate and undergraduate research methodology courses: Abbreviated Review Procedure
The CHSR recognizes that graduate and undergraduate research methodology courses are designed to teach students research skills through a combination of readings, lectures and research activities or projects. The purpose of such research projects is for the student to apply what is being taught (i.e. use skills outside of the classroom) rather than to contribute to existing research literature in a field. Accordingly, the CHSR has developed special guidelines for such class projects.
An instructor who wishes to make use of this abbreviated review procedure:
Instructors are encouraged to contact the CHSR for guidance about ways to handle topics such as privacy, confidentiality, informed consent, and professional ethics when class projects are part of the course syllabus. These issues may still remain even when CHSR approval is not required, in which case instructors, advisors and department play an even greater role in providing the appropriate guidance and oversight
Note: Students planning to use a class-based project as part of an undergraduate senior/honor’s thesis, master’s thesis, doctoral dissertation, independent study project, or for submitting it for off campus publication or presentation must follow the CHSR review procedures before commencing the project (see Student Research Category 1 above)
Submission Requirements - Abbreviated Process
Course instructors must submit a Class Project Research Application each semester. This application will include a descriptive title of each student project, the student investigator’s name, and the type and estimated number of subjects who will be enrolled by using the Class Project Research CHSR Application. The Class Project Research CHSR Application form must be signed by the course instructor and submitted to the CHSR Office at least one (1) week before the research is to begin. No student research project involving human subjects may begin until the instructor has submitted the application and it has been accepted by the CHSR.
Note: Projects involving but not limited to vulnerable population, collecting data sensitive in nature, collecting information in which participant might feel physically or psychologically threatened are not acceptable under this review category and a Full CHSR application must be completed for review.