Community-Engaged Research (CEnR)

Community engagement is the process of working collaboratively with and through groups of people affiliated by geographic proximity, special interest, or similar situations to address issues affecting the well-being of those people.

Principles of Community Engagement (Second Edition)

Does the IRB review Community-Engaged Research?

The IRB at MSU is charged with reviewing all research protocols involving human subjects. Research is defined as a “systematic investigation designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge.” The involvement of human subjects includes interventions/interactions with a living individual OR use of identifiable private information about living individuals. If the activity does not meet these two criteria, it does not need IRB approval. You should, however, err on the side of caution if you are unsure and consult with the HRPP office.

What if I am only supporting a community partner in doing their own research?

We need to decide if you are engaged or not. If you are collecting data, conducting interviews, involved in interventions with human participants, or even collecting informed consent, then you are engaged and need IRB approval. If you are only doing education or advising the community partner on how to conduct research, then you are not engaged in the research and MSU’s IRB has no authority to require or grant approval.

Can a community partner have their research reviewed by MSU’s IRB?

Only when a MSU-affiliated individual is engaged in the conduct of the research. A formal agreement between the community partner investigators will need to be signed so that the MSU IRB can “cover” them under our Federalwide Assurance. Additionally, the community partners will need to show proof of IRB training.

Additional Resources

MSU Center for Community-Engaged Learning