Institutional Review Board

Department of Psychology Policy

Every semester human behavior research is conducted by Psychology Department faculty and psychology majors for the purposes of research and education. These studies often solicit student participation. Students who participate in psychological research benefit by learning firsthand about how advances in the field of psychology are made. All research projects are conducted according to the ethical principles of the American Psychological Association and High Point University policy on the use of human participants in research.

Participating in a Psychology Study

In order to fulfill its teaching and research goals, the Psychology Department has instituted a policy on research participation: All students enrolled in Psychology 2000 (Introduction to Psychology) are required to ear 5 credits by completing some combination of the various options.  Students can participate in IRB approved studies. Participation time will be approximately 1hour per credit, ½ hour per ½ credit, etc. Students under teh age of 18 may not participate in studies.

Options for Students who Do Not Wish to Participate in Research

Students who may have objections to participating in studies are offered the option of alternative assignments that also teach students about psychological research.

Psychology Media Presentations and Analysis

Students may attend approved presentations on psychological topics.  These presentations are designed to expose students to research being done in the field and to the application of psychological topics in videos, documentaries, and films.  Your course instructor will notify you of approved events, or they may be posted on the Sona system.  For credit, you must attend the full presentation (most of these events take about one hour), sign an attendance sheet while at the event, and participate in a discussion about the presentation. Some presentations may involve answering written questions to stimulate critical analysis of the information presented.

Psychology Research Article Summaries and Reactions

You may choose to read and respond to research articles in approved psychology journals.  A number of articles will be posted on Blackboard.  For credit, select an article from Blackboard, write a summary of the research, and discuss your reactions to the research.  Summaries must be typed, double-spaced, and approximately two pages in length. All articles will be submitted both electronically and in hard copy to the course instructor. To submit a paper electronically, will be accessible through Blackboard. TurnItIn will evaluate the summaries for plagiarism/copying, and then the summaries will be evaluated by course instructors to ensure that they are acceptable for credit. Evaluated summaries (credit/no credit) will be returned to students by course instructors. Students who plagiarize the article summaries will be given no credit for the summary, and the instructor will file the plagiarism with the Honor Court and the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.

Completing some combination of three options, one of which is research participation, will fulfill these assignments.  Students may complete any given option no more than two times.  Failure to complete three assignments will result in the student receiving an incomplete for the course.  Students who receive a grade of incomplete will have one semester in which to finish the assignments, upon completion the course instructor will replace the incomplete with the appropriate course grade.  In the event that the assignments are not completed within one semester, the incomplete grade will automatically be changed to an F, regardless of class performance.

Rights of the Student

  1. Students who volunteer to participate in a study are entitled to receive as much information as a participant would reasonably want to know to make an informed decision about participation before signing up. For example, if pain is likely, volunteers should be told.
  2. After showing up and hearing about the study, students may withdraw from participation then or at any subsequent time without penalty. Withdrawing students receive full credit for participation.
  3. Students who participate in studies will receive an explanation from the researcher regarding the purpose of the study. In the unlikely case that the explanation must be postponed until the completion of the study, participants will be sent a summary of the study at the end of the semester.
  4.  Instructors may not require students enrolled in their class to participate in their research.

If a student believes that they have been treated unfairly or harmed in a study, the student should contact either (1) the Psychology 2000 instructor; (2) the faculty supervising the study; (3) the Chair of the Psychology Department; (4) or the Chair of the Human Participants IRB.

Responsibilities of Volunteers

Volunteers must arrive at the location of the study on time. When students complete a study, the researcher will submit their name to the psychology human research participant pool coordinator, who will update the credit information in Blackboard periodically.  If students cannot participate after signing up, they must cancel the appointment at least 5 hours in advance by calling the experimenter whose information is listed on the sign-up sheet. Canceling an appointment in a timely way prevents needless waiting by the researcher and allows the time to be used by another participant.  Failure to show or cancel in a timely manner will result in a negative credit for the student.  For example, should a student miss a study for which they signed up, the student will need to complete four research experiences instead of three.

Use of the Introductory Psychology Human Participant Pool

Right of Participants

 Confidentiality and Anonymity

Participants have the right to expect that any information collected as part of their participation in the study is confidential and anonymous unless otherwise agreed upon in advance.


Informed Consent
Each researcher must provide, in writing, a brief but informative description of the experimental procedure, the expected duration of the participant’s participation, a description of any reasonably foreseeable risks or discomforts to the participant, the foreseeable benefits of participation, as well as assurance that the participant is free to withdraw from the experiment at any time without penalty. A sample informed consent is attached. The participant is usually required to sign this informed consent form prior to participation in any study.


Educational Return
Since participants are participating as part of a course requirement, they must derive something of educational value from their research experience. The researcher is required to debrief the participant immediately following participation or after completion of the study if immediate debriefing might bias future participants.


Research Participation Credit
The first hour of participation in a study meets the requirement for research participation. Additional time incurs additional credit. No research participation credit is given to students when a study is conducted during regular class time for the purpose of class demonstration.


Research Approval
All research proposals using students or staff at High Point University must be approved by the High Point University Human Participants Institutional Review Board and must comply with American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (2002).


Coordination of Research
Researchers should contact members of the Psychology Department to coordinate the use of research facilities.

Posting Research Opportunities
Inform PSY 2000 students about your study by posting your study on the SONA system.


Research Sessions
Researchers must meet all participants who sign up for their experiments and remain available until they are finished. If they must cancel a session without contacting participants, the experimenters must assign credit for participation in the study.


All participants must be given the most complete debriefing possible at the end of the study. This communication should be a clear and interesting communication in as nontechnical terms as possible.


Contact Us

Chair of the IRB: Dr. Kimberly Wear
(336) 841-9246