Your institution may have a research ethics committee. The job of this committee is to determine whether the work you are doing qualifies as research, and to ensure that ethical standards are met in all research that occurs. This committee is usually called an IRB, which stands for Institutional Review Board or Internal Review Board. It may also be called an Independent Ethics Committee (IEC), Ethical Review Board (ERB), or Research Ethics Board (REB).

  1. Each IRB has its own requirements related to the types of projects that fall under its jurisdiction and which materials they need to review.
  2. IRBs may apply different levels of scrutiny or have different types of review for different work, but consent forms are usually part of the process no matter the kind of review. 
  3. Please review your organization’s guidelines to assure that you are following your institutional procedures.

Many institutions do not require application to the IRB if the survey data is used for ongoing internal learning and improvement. In addition, most IRBs accept an “opt out” parent/caregiver permission — including the NYC Department of Education’s IRB. The “opt out” permission form automatically enrolls youth in the process, unless their parent/caregiver returns the form and have chosen to opt out. In other words, you do not have to wait until you receive all forms back from parents. This may vary from institution to institution, so it is best to review these forms with your IRB. Below you will find permission slips for both “opt out parent permission” and “full parent permission” (obtaining signatures from each and every parent). 

We recommend weaving this language into your registration materials along with other types of permission (e.g., photo releases). If you have already registered youth, send parent permissions slips prior to surveying those youth. 

Forms are available in Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), English, French, and Spanish.

Did this answer your question?