Human Subjects Review Committee

Scholarly research is a primary method for furthering the College’s goals of increasing knowledge and serving the community. When research involves human subjects, however, concerns about protecting the rights and interests of the subjects must be addressed. Any appeal to use of human subjects in research, by individuals acting as members of the LFC community, must be approved by HSRC. This policy sets general guidelines to be used by the Human Subject Review Committee (HSRC).


For the purpose of this policy, ‘research’ will be conceived broadly, to include any use of individuals as subjects (e.g., through testing, surveying, or interviewing), in efforts to gather information that the investigator will use in scholarly work.

There is a distinction here between research (which is designed to gather information that an investigator will use) and class projects (where participation is itself a pedagogical tool and the purpose of the activity). Full reviews by HSRC will be expected for any research involving human subjects, undertaken by LFC faculty or staff, outside investigators, or students doing independent study research projects (e.g., senior theses). The use of human subjects as part of projects required for regular classes will ordinarily not face full review. However, (1) students undertaking such projects must be informed of the standards appropriate for their endeavors (as evidenced by this policy) and (2) faculty overseeing such projects must ensure compliance with the relevant standards contained in this policy. If HSRC becomes aware of concerns about the appropriate use of human subjects in such class projects, it can require a full review. If faculty members or students have concerns about compliance, they can request a review by HSRC.

  • Educational or Social Value:

The use of human subjects must serve the goals of the institution as an educational and research organization. A research program must be well-designed and likely to achieve its goals. Members of HSRC may appeal to faculty experts on campus for advice.

The ideals of increasing knowledge and serving the community are subordinate to concerns about the welfare of subjects.

  • Voluntariness:

Participation in research must be completely voluntary.

Researchers must avoid pressuring anyone to participate as a subject in a study. If subjects are solicited during class time, voluntariness may be especially stressed. 

  • Confidentiality:

Confidentiality of any information gained in the course of research must be assured.  Whenever possible, strategies for separating names of subjects from personal information gained in the course of the research must be employed.