Education research is generally considered exempt under IRB regulations. UCI’s IRB office has announced that education research that qualifies as exempt can be self-determined. The official notification can be found here. What this means is that rather than filling out the exempt narrative form and submitting it and other paperwork to the IRB for their approval, a researcher conducting an exempt study can complete the relevant paperwork (below) and perform their study without pre-review by the IRB.  

Exempt education research is:

Research, conducted in established or commonly accepted educational settings and specifically involves normal educational practices that are NOT likely to adversely impact students’ opportunity to learn required educational content or the assessment of educators who provide instruction. This includes most research on regular and special education instructional strategies, and research on the effectiveness of or the comparison among instructional techniques, curricula, or classroom management methods. (source: IRB)

Self-determination can occur if the work does not involve:

  1. Children
  2. Adults (age 18 or older) who may not be legally/mentally/cognitively competent to consent
  3. Prisoners
  4. American Indian/Alaska Native tribes
  5. Non-UCI personnel engaged in research: a) intervening or interacting with the participants and/or b) having access to participant identifiable private information for research purposes.
  6. Use of the UCI Social Science Human Subject Lab (SONA).
  7. International Research
  8. A study team member with a Disclosable Financial Interest.

(source: IRB)

Below is guidance to complete the IRB process. The Lead Researcher (must be UCI faculty) will keep the narrative on file and is responsible for ethical conduct of the research team.

  • Complete the CITI Human Subjects tutorial.
    • You can check here to see if you have completed this (look for: “(Social/Behavioral) CITI Human Subject Research”) in the past five years. If you need to complete this tutorial, read the instructions here.
  • Complete the FERPA tutorial regarding protection of student records.
    • This tutorial is in the UC Learning Center – log in here: and search for “FERPA” to find the tutorial. It should take 10-15 min to complete.
  • Submit your self-determination IRB documents for exempt research here.
    • To learn more about how to access UCI Kuali Research (KR)  review the user guide.
    • If you experience any technical difficulties with the KR protocol, contact the Electronic Research Administration (ERA) at and all other study questions can be directed to the IRB.
  • Create a Study Information Sheet that you share with your students (or any subjects you will be interacting with in this research). A template study information sheet can be found here.

If you have any additional questions, please contact Kameryn Denaro ( at the UCI Education Research Initiative.