Form A: First Step of Ethics Review
Based on the responses you give, this branched form will skip the sections that do not apply for your study.
  • This form is the first step of the required ethics approval process for doctoral studies, dissertations, and all other student/staff research projects that would be linked to Walden University in any way (i.e., published with a Walden affiliation, funded by Walden).

    The "Save and Resume" function will let you return to this form up to 30 days later.

    Click here to view a video playlist containing an introduction to the ethics review process as well as the specific sections of this form.

    Due to the logic branching in this form that determines which questions apply to your study, it is not recommended that you go back to a previous page in the form to change previous answers. If this needs to be done, it is best to start fresh in a new form.

    Your responses to this form will allow Walden's Office of Research Ethics and Compliance (OREC) to determine which ethics form(s), partner approvals, and Institutional Review Board (IRB) review steps your project would require in order to be in compliance with federal regulations and university policies, which include the following:

    -protection of human subjects
    -ethical partnerships with partner organizations
    -alignment with the University's social change mission
    -appropriate usage of scholarly tools

    All doctoral program studies require ethics approval from OREC, even those that might be considered exempt from IRB oversight at other institutions.

    After reviewing the applicant’s responses within this form, OREC will email the applicant one of the following within 10 business days:
    (a) a list of the documents and approvals that will be required for ethics approval of the proposed project; or
    (b) a request for more information in order to determine which forms and documentation are needed for ethics approval of the project.

    Directions for doctoral students:
    You may submit this form any time after your chair has uploaded the proposal for the URR into the MyDR system.

    Please note that ethics approval cannot be finalized until after the proposal is fully approved in the MyDR system. (OREC will be automatically notified when this occurs and will reach out to you within 2 business days to ask you to update your IRB documents with any minor changes that were made as a result of the proposal approval process).

    Data collection that is begun prior to receiving explicit IRB approval from IRB@mail.waldenu.edu does not qualify for academic credit toward degree requirements. Researchers may NOT begin recruiting individual participants (i.e., obtaining consent form signatures) prior to IRB approval. However, researchers MAY communicate with partner organizations about the logistics of the partnership prior to IRB approval.



    Student researchers must remain enrolled in a course with their faculty supervisor during data collection.

  • Click here for a support video that is specific to question 1.
  • We are asking for the study's "working title" in use at this time; we understand that sometimes the final publication will have a different title, based on the analysis outcomes.
  • If your study is online (with the researcher in the USA), please indicate "no."
  • International requirements for research can be reviewed here.
  • A researcher might not need a partner organization if the participants can be reached using contact info from public websites, public directories, LinkedIn, social media, the researcher's professional network, or snowball sampling.

    Note regarding the use of professional networks and snowball sampling: neither researchers nor their contacts/participants are permitted to recruit their own subordinates into the study (with the exception of anonymous surveys).

    Click here for a support video that is specific to question 2.
  • It is fine for the researcher to begin the process of reaching out to partner organizations to explore the feasibility of the partnership. However, sharing flyers and recruiting individual participants isn't permitted until after IRB approval.

    The following are not considered partner organizations: SurveyMonkey, Facebook, LinkedIn, and the like.

    If you want to obtain broad approval to distribute invitations through a number of similar partner organizations, then you may list categories such as "social media groups" or "businesses with bulletin boards" However, if you want to recruit through a university, military unit, or clinic, then we need the specific name of each organization and its contact information.
  • Researchers are required to comply with all site requirements. Obtaining Walden's IRB approval is not a substitute for obtaining the site's internal approval(s).

    “Research approval system” refers to any entity designated by the organization to review and approve research involving that organization’s personnel, data, customers, students, or patients. Hospitals, military organizations, colleges, and some school systems are most likely to have their own internal research approval system. The most common examples include: assessment/evaluation department, human research protection office, research ethics board, research ethics committee, research review committee.
  • *Students may not make this decision themselves or make a guess. Students are required to ask the site IRB which description applies and provide the Walden IRB with documentation (memo, email, or copy of site's policy) of the site IRB's position.
  • If you are not sure how to answer this question, then you need to directly pose this question to the partner organization's IRB. It is typically best to ask via email so you have their response documented. Please note that when a partner organization requires approval from both IRBs, the Walden IRB is willing to perform its review either first or second, whichever order the partner organization prefers.
  • If you are not sure how to answer this question, then you need to directly pose this question to the partner organization's IRB. It is typically best to ask via email so you have their response documented. Please note that when a partner organization requires approval from both IRBs, the Walden IRB is willing to perform its review either first or second, whichever order the partner organization prefers.
  • Click here for a support video that is specific to question 3.
  • All co-researchers involved in data collection will need to submit CITI training certificates. You don't need to list co-researchers who would only be involved in analysis. This IRB approval permits the co-researchers listed here to share the dataset with any collaborators they wish, as long as the dataset is completely de-identified first.

    Only Walden employees and students can be involved in the data collection that occurs under this IRB's oversight. Other collaborators outside of Walden will need IRB approval through their own institution.
  • If you are a DNP student, you should be using this form instead.
  • If you're not sure if you are using a manual, then mark the first option.
  • The manuals mentioned above can be used by invitation only (from the program leadership).
  • FEASIBILITY STUDIES: For students who need IRB approval to access and examine a private dataset prior to proposal approval, please enter "feasibility study" to the study title in #1b above.

    COURSE RESEARCH: For students completing a study as part of a course, please enter the course number in the title for #1b above and be aware that all data collection must occur while enrolled in that course with that supervising faculty member.
  • *The Walden Research Data Permissions committee is a separate entity that must approve any request to analyze Walden data or collect research data from the Walden community, which includes students, faculty, staff, and alumni.
  • Piloting/validation includes expert panels, psychometric/item analysis of questionnaires for reliability, practice interviews, and roadtests of surveys/interviews to yield logistical and feasibility insights.

    Click here for a support video that is specific to question 4.
  • Note to students: The study may not include analyses of any data that are not listed in this DATA SOURCES section of Form A. The university cannot accept the final study if there are discrepancies between this section and the final study document.

    After proposal approval, applicants will be asked to confirm that this section is 100% updated. If an applicant wishes to add more data components to the study after that point, the applicant must submit an updated version of this form to the Office of Research Ethics and Compliance for prior approval.

  • Sample responses:

    -Thematic coding will be applied to staff interview data.
    -Regression will be used to examine the degree to which student engagement predicts student test scores.

    Click here for a support video that is specific to question 5.
  • Observations require use of an approved observation coding sheet. Taking notes during interviews doesn't count as observation data.
  • *The participant pool website is not appropriate for the following:
    -studies seeking participants in a particular geographic area (such as city or state)
    -studies seeking participants who work for a particular employer
    -studies involving more than minimal risk

    The pool is appropriate for recruiting participants from all over the world in the following categories:
    -educators
    -military/veterans
    -online students/alums
    -healthcare workers (including mental health workers)
    -general population (e.g., caregivers, consumers, patients, etc).

    Click here for a support video that is specific to question 6.