Working with Other Organizations

Sometimes researchers conduct projects that require the involvement of other organizations, such as schools, colleges and universities, prisons, hospitals, employers, and tribal governments. Frequently these organizations have their own conditions that must be met before research can be approved. In such cases, Evergreen's IRB requires researchers to obtain an agreement from an authorized representative of the organization allowing the work to go forward. Here are some considerations for researchers considering work within certain types of outside organizations.

If you are conducting research at an organization where another institutional review board has jurisdiction, you may also be required to have approval from that IRB as well as from Evergreen's. Such organizations can include tribal governments, colleges and universities, hospitals, and government agencies. 

Government agencies

Many government agencies have legal requirements and established policies governing research about their employees or clientele.  Some have their own IRBs.

Several Washington state agencies as well as some local agencies are under the jurisdiction of the Washington State Institutional Review Board (WSIRB), including the Departments of Corrections (DOC), Health (DOH), Social and Health Services (DSHS), Labor & Industries (L&I), Health Care Authority (HCA), and Office of Financial Management. No research may be conducted about these agencies' clients, beneficiaries, wards, patients, or employees without WSIRB approval.


Most school districts have an office that reviews and approves research to be conducted within their schools.  If you are planning a project in a school, start there.  Also note that while research about some educational practices are considered exempt from federal human subjects law, schools may nevertheless require their own review and informed consent procedures.

Colleges and universities

Colleges and universities may need to grant approval before a researcher is allowed to recruit participants from their student body, faculty or staff.  A good place to inquire about such requirements is at the institution's own institutional review board office or the office of its chief academic officer.


Correction institutions frequently require their own review and oversight of research about prisoners in addition to review and oversight by an IRB.  Also note that prisoners are a vulnerable population under federal law, and as such require special considerations by the IRB before approval can be granted.  Evergreen's IRB does not currently have the capacity to review any projects involving incarcerated individuals, though it may be possible to arrange for an external IRB to conduct a review for a project originating at the college.  Contact the IRB Administrator if you have questions.

Places of employment

When researchers seek to recruit subjects from particular places of employment, permission from an authorized representative of the employer is required. Extra caution and confidentiality considerations are in order when employees are asked to provide information about their employment conditions, the effectiveness of their organization as a whole, or the performance, attitudes or behaviors of individuals within it. Researchers need to exercise care so as not to risk the economic or social standing of their subjects in the workplace.

Research on tribal lands or about tribal members

Tribal governments frequently require that any research conducted on their lands or among their members receive approval in advance from an authorized representative of the tribe.  It is imperative that researchers seek out such approval, and if it is required, receive it before beginning such a research project.  Tribal governments are sovereign. While the Belmont Report and United States human research protections laws are good foundational frameworks for conducting ethical research, tribes may have additional requirements and limitations in order to protect their unique heritages and privileged knowledge. For more information related to this topic, visit the Association of American Geographers document, AAG Indigenous Peoples Specialty Group's Declaration of Key Questions about Research Ethics with Indigenous Communities. Additional information is available at Research Ethics Guides.