Research & Economic Development

Guidelines for External Researchers

External Researcher Authorization Agreement Form 

Guidelines for External Researchers Seeking to Conduct Research Among Tech Students, Staff, and/or Faculty


These External Researcher Guidelines apply to all individuals not formally affiliated with Tennessee Tech University who are interested in conducting research involving Tennessee Tech students, staff, and/or faculty. These guidelines apply only to external researchers (1) who are requesting assistance from Tennessee Tech administration, faculty, or staff to recruit Tennessee Tech students, staff, or faculty for participation in research; (2) who intend to recruit Tennessee Tech students, staff, or faculty on the Tennessee Tech campus; and/or (3) who intend to conduct research among students, staff, or faculty on the Tennessee Tech campus.

These guidelines do not apply to joint, multi-institutional research projects within which a Tennessee Tech student, staff, and/or faculty is a PI or a Co-PI.


The purpose of these guidelines is to establish a standard method of reviewing and approving any research conducted that involves Tennessee Tech students, staff, and/or faculty as research participants. Any and all external researchers (i.e., anyone officially unaffiliated with Tennessee Tech) are required to follow these guidelines.


The Tennessee Tech Institutional Review Board (IRB) was established for the review of any research involving humans as subjects by students, staff, and faculty at Tennessee Tech, in accordance with the federal mandate outlined in 45 CFR, Part 46. The purpose of the board is to provide review of all research conducted by Tennessee Tech students, staff, or faculty to insure the protection and safety of human subjects during the research process. All research conducted on the Tennessee Tech campus involving Tennessee Tech students, staff, and/or faculty is subject to compliance with all federal regulations regarding human subject research.


Approval to solicit involvement of Tennessee Tech University students, staff, and/or faculty in research conducted by external researchers must be obtained from the Tennessee Tech IRB prior to recruitment. Approval decisions are made on a case-by-case basis, but the researcher MUST provide a compelling justification for using Tennessee Tech students, staff, and/or faculty as study participants and/or demonstrate some direct benefit to the campus community.

In order for the Tennessee Tech IRB to consider such a request, the external researchers must

  1. have IRB approval for the study from their home institution,
  2. have a Faculty Supervisor at Tennessee Tech,
  3. complete a Tennessee Tech IRB application for Expedited Review,*
  4. complete an External Researcher Authorization Agreement, and
  5. submit the approved IRB application from their home institution.

(a) Prior to submitting a request to the Tennessee Tech IRB, the external researchers must attain IRB approval from their home institution.
(b) The Faculty Supervisor must be an employee at Tennessee Tech with appropriate education, training, and experience to be able to oversee a research project of the type being requested, and the faculty supervisor must be willing to take full internal accountability for the research including assisting the researcher in following all of the Tennessee Tech guidelines and regulations. The Faculty Supervisor must have completed the CITI training for PIs/Co-PIs.
(c) The Tennessee Tech application for Expedited Review includes the Application for Research Involving Human SubjectsCITI Training Completion Reports for the PI, all Co-PIs, and the Tennessee Tech Faculty Supervisor, the Informed Consent Form(s), and copy of the research instrument(s) (e.g., Survey, Interview Protocol).

The Tennessee Tech IRB application procedures and documents can be found here:

Getting Started


* Although the application will be designated for “Expedited Review,” the application will be reviewed only by the IRB Chairperson; a review by a subcommittee of IRB members will not be required.

(d) The External Researcher Authorization Agreement must be completed by the PI, signed by a representative at the PI’s home institution, and enclosed with the Tennessee Tech IRB application. The External Researcher Authorization Agreement form can be found here:

External Researcher Authorization Form

(e) Enclosed with the Tennessee Tech IRB application for Expedited Review, the external researchers must include the complete approved IRB application from their home institution, which must include an informed consent form, all research instruments and protocols that will be used in the study, and an explanation of the role of Tennessee Tech students, staff, and/or faculty.

The workflow at Tennessee Tech for this application is as follows:

  • The external researcher submits the completed applications (i.e., all documents in c-d above) to the Tennessee Tech Faculty Supervisor.
  • Once the Faculty Supervisor signs the Application for Research Involving Human Subjects, she or he will submit it to her or his certified Departmental Reviewer for review.
  • Once the Departmental Reviewer feels the application is acceptable, she or he must recommend the application for “Expedited Review” and sign and date Form A. She or he will then submit the application to Jill Dicey in Tennessee Tech Research & Economic Development.
  • Once Ms. Dicey processes the application, she will submit the application to the IRB Chairperson for review.
  • The IRB Chairperson will make the final decision to approve the application. The IRB Chairperson will email the PI directly with a decision. The Faculty Supervisor will also be included on the email.

The external researchers (or Faculty Supervisor) cannot begin recruiting Tennessee Tech participants or conducting the research with Tennessee Tech participants until the application has been approved by the Tennessee Tech IRB.

Although the Tennessee Tech IRB can approve the application, it does not grant permission to use any university resources or to recruit from any specific department or unit at Tennessee Tech. Contact the appropriate administrator, Dean, or Chairperson to request such permission.

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