When to Submit a Research Proposal

Determining when to submit a proposal depends upon when a researcher would like to begin data collection. To improve the chances that a project receives IRB approval by the planned data collection start date, researchers should submit their research proposal form and all required materials and documents as early as possible. The more time between the date that a research proposal is submitted and the planned data collection start date, the greater the chances the project will not be delayed by the IRB review process.

Usually, exempt and expedited proposals are approved in 2-4 weeks. The approval timeline for exempt and expedited reviews could be longer if research proposal materials are missing (e.g., letters of cooperation, informed consent forms, etc.) or if proposals are submitted over the summer or holiday breaks.

When a research proposal requires a full committee review, the approval timelines are longer. The IRB recommends that researchers consider the following timeline when submitting research proposals requiring full committee review:

  • 90 days prior to data collection = excellent chance of IRB approval
  • 60 days prior to data collection = good chance of IRB approval
  • 30 days prior to data collection = fair chance of IRB approval

How to Submit a Research Proposal

The following is a step by step guide on how to submit your completed research proposal and supporting documents electronically as an IRB Packet. Submit through the IRB Google Group.

  1. Review the IRB Review Template. This is the template IRB members use when reviewing proposals. We recommend that researchers use this as a reference when writing their proposals and submitting their research materials.
  2. Complete the Research Proposal Form. Here is an example of how it should be saved:

A student named John Doe is advised by Roger Wiemers and is submitting on July 8, 2016.  John would create a document with the name IRB-Doe-Wiemers-07-08-16.

Save a copy of the Research Proposal Form for your records.

  1. Attach the Research Proposal Form and any other associated materials to an email to the IRB at irb@lipscomb.edu. On the subject line enter the first and last name of both the investigator and the faculty research advisor and the date.
  • All advisors of student research must hold an NIH or CITI certificate of completion, showing that they understand the protection of human subjects in research. Certificates for advisors must be included in research proposal submissions.
  • When a research proposal is submitted to the IRB email address, the advisor must be included in the submission email string to show that they are aware of the proposal being submitted. If this does not occur, the proposal will not be considered.
  • These new specifications add some greater responsibility on the research advisor, but they will resolve some major issues that have arisen over the course of the last year.
  • Please pass this information on to research advisors and students.