Human Subjects Research

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Every student who wants to present a project involving human subjects must complete this course before submitting their project to the Institutional Review Board (IRB). This course will help you develop a project that is feasible, interesting, relevant, and ethical.

How to use this course:

  • Students can take this course as part of one of their classes at school.
  • Students can take this course on their own outside of school.
  • This course is required for students who are submitting projects to the MSSF IRB.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the safety and ethical concerns associated with conducting research on humans.
  • Develop a research plan suitable for presentation to the IRB.
  • Acknowledge how the MSSF IRB functions and be aware of its project review timeline.

Important Steps:

The following diagram shows you the steps you need to complete to work with human subjects as part of Maine State Science Fair. You can download a PDF of this chart here.

Complete this course 1.  Carefully review all lessons. 2. Complete the quiz with an 80 or better. 3. You may take the quiz as many times as you need to. Plan your project 1.  Do your background research. 2. Write a research plan: what data will you collect, and how? 3. Identify your participants and how you will find them. 4. Develop surveys and other data collection instruments. Complete required forms 1.  Register in LaunchPad. 2. Get parent/guardian permission to participate. 3. Create your project in LaunchPad and add any teammates. 4. Submit additional paperwork required. Wait for IRB Review 1.  Keep an eye on your email for messages from the IRB. 2. Respond quickly to reviewer requests by sending your edited paperwork. 3. Do not start collecting data until you get approval. Begin your Experiment 1.  Reach out to your participants. 2. Start collecting data. 3. Analyze your data. 4. Remember to always protect your participants’ privacy!


Click on the lesson below to begin.