The participation by human subjects in any College of Engineering and Computing research project must be consensual. As stated in the NSU policy:
"…no investigator may involve a human being as a subject in research, as defined in this policy and procedure manual, unless the investigator has obtained the subject's informed consent. The process of informed consent is constituted by two essential elements: (1) the subject has the information he or she requires to make an effective decision, and (2) the subject's participation is not coerced, i.e. his or her consent is voluntary."
While this requirement usually results in the use of an Informed Consent Form in the proposed research, the NSU requirement for human subjects to provide their informed consent does not necessarily require the subject to execute a document as proof of their consent. As noted in the NSU policy the requirement the IRB may approve a consent procedure which does not include, or which alters, some or all or the elements of informed consent, or waive the requirement to obtain informed consent provided the IRB finds and documents:
- The research involves no more than minimal risks
- The rights and welfare of subjects will not be adversely affected
- The research could not practicably be carried out without the waiver or alteration
- Whenever appropriate, the subjects will be provided with additional pertinent information after participation
- The research is to be conducted for the purpose of demonstrating or evaluating federal, state, or local service programs that are not research programs, etc.
While most of the research proposed by the College of Engineering and Computing students may fall under one or more of these situations, the use of an Informed Consent Form must be used unless the use of the form may adversely effect the research (e.g., having a subject sign the form may reduce the spontaneity of their responses to the researchers questions, etc.). If an Informed Consent Form will not be used in the research then the reason for this omission should be described briefly in the Research Protocol.