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Research with UC Merced Students, Staff or Faculty Members

Students, Staff or Faculty Members as Research Subjects

UC Merced students or employees who are asked to volunteer as human subjects in a researcher's study might feel some pressure to agree, especially if the requesting researcher is their supervisor or instructor, or someone who might be in a position to influence their future.

Students and employees may volunteer to participate out of a belief that doing so will place them in good favor with faculty members (e.g., that participating will result in receiving better grades, recommendations, employment or the like), or that failure to participate will negatively affect their relationship with the investigator or faculty generally (i.e., by seeming "uncooperative").

Guidelines for Recruiting Students

  • The principal investigator shall provide assurance in the protocol narrative that a student's experimental results, performance or any confidential data will not be given to whomever is grading the student, except for stating whether the student participated, unless the approved study design provides for this.
  • It is unacceptable to require participation in research for course credit. However, instructors who wish to involve students in simulations of human experimentation and course-assigned data collection for educational purposes only may require such participation as part of the class requirements.
  • Students may earn extra course credit if an instructor includes this option in the course syllabus. When students participate in research studies for extra class credit, they must be provided alternative ways to earn extra credit that require equal or less time and effort. The IRB might require the investigator to include the available alternatives to participation in the informed consent document.
  • Researchers interested in accessing student records for research purposes are directed to contact the UC Merced Office of the Registrar. The disclosure of information from student records is governed in large measure by the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, by the California Education Code, and by university policy and procedures implementing these laws. Studies of this nature must also be approved by the IRB before initiation.