Exempt Review

Exempt Review


Research with less than minimal risk on subjects can be designated as exempt from full IRB review (and follow-up continuing reviews). Researchers are still required to apply to NTU-IRB and obtain formal approval for Exempt-status. Exempt proposals will still be reviewed by a member of the IRB to assign Exempt status, but the application process may be considerably shorter.

Typically, research studies where participants will be anonymous or effectively de-identified are eligible for Exempt review. Participants must not be from vulnerable groups, unless expressedly allowed within any of the Exempt categories.  

Studies must fall into one of the Exempt categories below to qualify for Exempt-status. Researchers are to ensure that their study methodology will not lead to adverse outcomes that may trigger adverse emotional responses and ensure anonymity of research participants.

Note: If applications are determined to be not eligible for Exempt review, the PI is expected to re-submit under Expedited or Full Board review. 


Research in normal educational settings
Anonymous educational tests, surveys, interviews, or public observations
Benign behavioural interventions
Secondary research on existing (or public) datasets or biological materials
Research conducted or supported by government
Taste and food quality evaluations

General Exclusions:

  • Research involving prisoners and uniformed groups. 
  • Research involving children (when the research involves survey or interview procedures or observations in public behaviour), except when the investigators do not participate in the activities being observed. 


Amendments to approved Exempt applications: Any modification to an exempt research project must be submitted to the IRB for review and re-determination of exemption status prior to initiating the changes to the research. In some circumstances, modifications to exempt research may disqualify the research from the exempt status.