Format for Proposal

The proposal to be submitted should include the following:

Part I. The cover form. Click here to open a copy of the cover form which may be completed on-line (except for signatures) and downloaded for attachment to your proposal. (You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader: free download of the Reader program is available from the Adobe Acrobat Website). Instructors who are providing information about several research projects conducted as course requirements by students please use the second form, and provide short summaries of each research project.

Part II. Description of the Study. Click here for an outline of the information to be covered.

Part III. Human Subjects Protection. Click here for an outline of the information to be considered.

Other relevant materials. Please include the Informed Consent statement and copies of any questions, assessment instruments, etc. Other materials may also be included as the researcher chooses.

Proposal Length. Parts I, II, and III will probably be four to ten pages in combined length.




A. Research question. Beginning on a second page, provide a brief statement of the question(s) being asked and the supporting rationale. For example: "The study is designed to determine if conformity is related to perceptions of group strength. This project is based on the social impact theory of group influence which suggests that social influence will increase as a function of perceived 'strength' among the group members. Perceived strength in this study is being defined by the expertise of the members." Notice that the statement is brief and expresses not only the research question but the theoretical rationale behind the question. Some projects will undoubtedly require a bit more explanation, but a complete literature review is not necessary for IRB review purposes.

B. Hypothesis(es). Provide a clear statement of the research hypothesis(es) as related to the rationale and theory behind the study, For example: “Higher levels of conformity will be observed for groups that have undergone a preliminary cohesion enhancement." Stating hypotheses in the null form is of little help to reviewers.

C. Subject Selection.

1. Number of subjects:

2. Human subject pool:

a. Describe relevant features of the subjects you will be using (e.g. sex, race, or ethnic group; age range; general state of mental and physical health; etc.).

b. Note the relevant affiliations of your subjects (e.g. institutions, hospitals, general public, etc.).

3. If human subjects are children, mentally incompetent, or other legally restricted groups:

a. Explain the necessity of using these particular groups.

b. Describe any special arrangements to protect their safety.

D. Procedures:

1.Describe your recruitment procedures and any material inducements given for participation.

2. Note the location of the study. Be as specific as possible. If you are conducting the study in a school, agency, or organization, you must attach a letter of consent from an appropriate representative from that school, agency, or organization.

3. Describe all personnel, including names and affiliation with UW-Superior (and any other relevant affiliations).

4. Describe the information to be gathered and the means for collecting and recording data.
If previously collected data is to be used, describe both the previous and proposed uses of these data.

5. Provide a step by step description of everything subjects will be asked to do in your study.

6. Note the title and source of instruments (i.e. personality scales, questionnaires, evaluation blanks, etc.). Include copies of original instruments.





A. Potential Risks you can anticipate for subjects.

1. Describe immediate risks, long term risks, rationale for the necessity of such risks, alternatives that were or will be considered, and why alternatives may not be feasible.

2. Describe any potential legal, financial, social or personal effects on subjects of accidental data disclosure. Though the potential for disclosure may be extremely remote, if a fire or bombing exposed your data, how would it affect subjects?

B. Expected benefits for subjects (if any) and/or society:

The IRB is required to insure that the potential risks to subjects (however minimal) are clearly justified by the potential benefits of the research both to the subjects and to the current state of theoretical knowledge on the topic. You can assist this process by providing a statement clarifying the potential for new knowledge resulting from the study as well as any benefits directly to the subjects. Stating that "more research is needed on this topic" will be of little help. Please explain why more research will be a benefit.

C. Deception used in gathering data.

Justify and support the use of deception in the project, particularly if subjects are being provided with any untruthful or misleading information. Realize that not providing complete information is minimally deceptive. Provide a detailed written description of the debriefing process.

D. Safeguarding subjects' identity.

1. What uses will be made of the information obtained from the subjects? What elements of your project might be openly accessible to other agencies or appear in publications?

2.What precautions will be taken to safeguard identifiable records or individuals? How will confidentiality of data be protected?

E. Informed consent.

Please refer to Appendix D for guidelines with respect to informed consent and sample consent forms. Submit a copy of the consent form and all materials used in the recruitment and selection of subjects.

If the study involves children, the informed consent form must be signed by the child's parent or guardian. However, the IRB usually requires that a second form be signed by the child as well, so that s/he understands as completely as possible the research which is being performed. This second form may be written in simpler language to match the age and understanding of the subjects.

When a signed consent form is required, a copy must be made available to the subjects. At the very least—e.g., when completion of the instrument serves as giving consent--subjects must be given a form identifying the researcher by name, address, and phone number, and including these statements:

If you have concerns about how you were treated in this study, please contact the IRB at

This project has been approved by the UW-Superior Institutional Research Board for the Protection of Human Subjects, protocol #_____

Some researchers might meet this requirement by detaching the signature portion of the consent form and giving the rest to the subject. Others might print a separate card or sheet with the required information for distributing to subjects.