IS ORAL HISTORY HUMAN SUBJECTS RESEARCH?
Per the federal regulations, 45 CFR par 46, oral history is not officially included in the definition of human subjects research (HSR). Depending on the intent of the oral history you will conduct or collect, however, IRB review may still be required. Please use the decision chart to evaluate whether you are conducting HSR and therefore require IRB review.
- Oral history activities that only document a specific historical event or the experiences of individuals without intent to draw conclusions or generalize findings would not constitute "research" as defined by HHS regulations 45 CFR part 46.
- Systematic investigations involving open-ended interviews that are designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge (e.g., designed to draw conclusions, inform policy, or generalize findings) would constitute "research" as defined by HHS regulations at 45 CFR part 46.
- Oral historians and qualitative investigators may want to create archives for the purpose of providing a resource for others to do research. Such a repository of information meets the definition of “research” because it includes “research development.”