Department of Electronic Media, Kutztown University

Policy on Protection of Human Subjects

It is University policy that no research done under its jurisdiction expose persons who participate as subjects or respondents to unreasonable risks to their health, general well-being, or privacy. While the vast majority of research in electronic media poses no risk to human subjects, it is part of responsible research practice to have the design and instruments reviewed by disinterested parties to insure compliance with University and Federal guidelines. The issue of privacy is especially important in communications research.

Definition of Research

Any student collecting information of any type from human subjects, including fellow students, must comply with this policy. This includes research for class projects, theses, and independent studies which may involve a survey, experiment, or observation of human behavior.

Informed Consent

University and Federal guidelines require that subjects be given a brief explanation of the research (after the fact, if it would bias their participation), and that, whenever possible, a signature be obtained signifying their willingness to participate in the study. A sample consent form is attached.


1. The student researcher will fill out the attached research proposal form and submit it to the Chair of the Department Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects. A sample form is included on the reverse of this sheet to use as a guide.

2. The Chair of the Committee will review the form and discuss it with committee members if there is any question of endangering subjects.

3. Within two weeks the Committee will respond with one of three actions:

a. Approve the research as "exempted."
b. Request further details.
c. Suggest modifications to the design to reduce the risk to human subjects.

4. It is the student's responsibility to inform the Committee of any changes in design or instruments made after project approval which might impact upon the risk to human subjects.

5. Failure to follow these procedures may impact negatively on the student's grade, and will necessitate a special report to be filed with the Committee "after the fact." If the Committee finds that the interests of human subjects were not adequately guarded, the student may be required to destroy the raw data.

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