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 (TTU) who are interested in conducting research involving TTU students, staff, and/or faculty. These guidelines apply only to external researchers (1) who are requesting assistance from TTU administration, faculty, or staff to recruit TTU students, staff, or faculty for participation in research; (2) who intend to recruit TTU students, staff, or faculty on the TTU campus; and/or (3) who intend to conduct research among students, staff, or faculty on the TTU campus.

These guidelines do not apply to joint, multi-institutional research projects within which a TTU 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 TTU students, staff, and/or faculty as research participants. Any and all external researchers (i.e., anyone officially unaffiliated with TTU) are required to follow these guidelines.


The TTU Institutional Review Board (IRB) was established for the review of any research involving humans as subjects by students, staff, and faculty at TTU, 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 TTU students, staff, or faculty to insure the protection and safety of human subjects during the research process. All research conducted on the TTU campus involving TTU 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 (TTU) students, staff, and/or faculty in research conducted by external researchers must be obtained from the TTU IRB prior to recruitment. Approval decisions are made on a case-by-case basis, but the researcher MUST provide a compelling justification for using TTU students, staff, and/or faculty as study participants and/or demonstrate some direct benefit to the campus community.

In order for the TTU 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 TTU,
  3. complete a TTU 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 TTU IRB, the external researchers must attain IRB approval from their home institution.

(b) The Faculty Supervisor must be an employee at TTU 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 TTU guidelines and regulations. The Faculty Supervisor must have completed the CITI training for PIs/Co-PIs.

(c) The TTU application for Expedited Review includes the Application for Research Involving Human Subjects, CITI Training Completion Reports for the PI, all Co-PIs, and the TTU Faculty Supervisor, the Informed Consent Form(s), and copy of the research instrument(s) (e.g., Survey, Interview Protocol).

The TTU 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 TTU IRB application. The External Researcher Authorization Agreement form can be found here:

External Researcher Authorization Form

(e) Enclosed with the TTU 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 TTU students, staff, and/or faculty.

The workflow at TTU for this application is as follows:

  • The external researcher submits the completed applications (i.e., all documents in c-d above) to the TTU 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 Amy Hill in the TTU Office of Research.
  • Once Mrs. Hill 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 TTU participants or conducting the research with TTU participants until the application has been approved by the TTU IRB.

Although the TTU 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 TTU. Contact the appropriate administrator, Dean, or Chairperson to request such permission.