Education research is considered exempt under IRB regulations, but UC Irvine is currently still requiring that researchers submit an exempt narrative to an IRB committee and get approval before conducting and publishing education research. This process of submission is not onerous, but it can be confusing. Here we attempt to outline the process and provide sample documents to make this as straightforward as possible. First, complete these two online trainings:

  1. CITI Human Subjects. 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.
  2. FERPA 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.

You will also likely need to complete all of these documents. They are listed here as Word documents or Google Docs with comments. Copy and edit as needed, then download as pdfs to submit to the IRB.

  1. UCI IRB Exempt Narrative for Social-Behavioral Research. Sample.
  2. Study Information Sheet to allow students to opt out of the analysis
  3. Letter of Legitimate Educational Interest, to be signed by your chair or dean. Sample.
  4. Data abstraction sheet from the TLRC
  5. FERPA approval letter from the TLRC. A sample request email is here

You may also need these documents:

  1. Appendix D (because some students are under 18, and IRB needs this on file)
  2. Appendix O (because you are likely not using informed consent)

Additional instructions for submitting an IRB are on the OIR Website, and the link to the IRB electronic submission is here. The IRB-C Committee (Social-Behavioral) meets every Friday, and exempt (education research) submissions are reviewed on a rolling basis. The IRB analysts attempt to send you a pre-review about 15 days before they expect to review your application, so you can make necessary changes. They say most applications require 2-3 months to be fully approved, so turn in your forms sooner rather than later. The IRB analysts welcome questions before submission (they are really nice in spite of their being so particular), so contact them at and include that you are IRB-“C” and exempt education research.