Institutional permission/approval for usability testing?

Laura Robbins poperol at GMAIL.COM
Mon Oct 20 22:53:12 EDT 2014

Hi Alec,

When I've done usability studies, I don't request any personal data from my
participants, and I do go through our IRB.

Any human subjects research has to go through your IRB.

Laura Pope Robbins
Professor/Reference Librarian
Dowling College

On Oct 20, 2014, at 4:24 PM, Alexander Sonsteby <
Alexander.Sonsteby at> wrote:

  Hi, all,

 I am writing to ask how many of your libraries have sought institutional
review board (IRB)/human subject review board (HSRB) approval to conduct
informal usability testing on your libraries' websites. By "informal" I
mean that you don't record your test subjects, track their names or other
personal identifiers (like student ID numbers) in a database, etc.

 I realize that this may be a sensitive topic for some, so feel free to
write me off-list if you prefer.

 Thank you,


  *Alec Sonsteby, M.S.*
Associate Professor and Reference & Instruction Librarian

 (O) 651.793.1636
(F) 651.793.1615
alexander.sonsteby at

 Metropolitan State University
645 East Seventh Street
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55106
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