American University of Central Asia - AUCA - Instructions for Students

Instructions for Students


I’m writing a Thesis (or research project) – What Should I Do?

If your research involves human participants, it must be reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board prior to the start of your research. If you collect information from human participants through tests, questionnaires, interviews, written communication or using secondary information with participants’ identifiable information you must receive approval from AUCA IRB.


How to receive approval from AUCA IRB?

Consult with your Thesis Supervisor:

  1. Together with your Supervisor determine whether your project is subject for the review process, if so, what type of review process it requires (i.e. Exempt Status Application or Full Review Application)
  2. If your thesis (or research project) requires IRB review and approval, you will submit your application with your supervisor referred to as Supervising Faculty. If you are the only investigator other than your supervisor in your project, you may be deemed as Principal Investigator.
  3. Complete online training. This will help you better understand the ethical issues you need to think about when designing your study with human participants. Save an electronic copy of your exam score in order to document that you have been through the training. Submit proof of passed exam with your proposal (e-mailed with your electronic submission). Be sure to keep one copy for your records.
  4. Work closely with your faculty supervisor to finalize your research protocol. We need to know EXACTLY what you are planning to do. You must:
  • Describe how you will contact and recruit participants
  • Describe how you will collect data
  • Provide relevant and representative examples of stimuli or a full list of questions you intend to ask in your interviews
  • Describe what your participants will do
  • The document that you have permission to use an existing data set and that the data was conducted in an ethical manner


Providing information at this level of detail is necessary so that the Committee can make an informed decision about potential risks to participants. Completing this process will probably help researchers prepare careful and consistent procedures of data collection.


When and where to submit for IRB Review?

IRB reserves at least 15 business days to review your application and notify you about the result. You must ensure you have enough time before the deadline for your research project or senior thesis, no later than 1 month prior to the intended start of data collection.

Once you finalized research protocol and received approval from your Supervisor, you must present ALL materials to Supervisor, and together with Supervisor submit the new application form and supporting materials (e.g., consent form, participant recruitment advertisement, experimental stimulus, interview questions) in ms word document format in one single email. Your supervisor will serve as the “Supervising Faculty” of your study. Your Supervisor will send in the application to the IRB with you in the copy.

Send a new application to in the following email subject line format “New Application: Title of Study”.


When you receive the approval result, save it and attach to your Senior Thesis (project). In case, you receive disapproval you must consult with your Supervisor. There are two things you can do. First, apply for appeal considering provided comments from the IRB. Your revised research protocol can be submitted under the same protocol number or with the new case number. Second, you may start the process again with the new project.


What if I was asked to submit additional materials or make modifications?

If you received a letter from the IRB suggesting revisions to your proposal, requesting additional information, or requesting supplemental materials, please revise your proposal as suggested and email your revisions and materials to irb@auca.kgin the following email subject line format “Follow-up: Title of Study (application number)”.

Once a project is approved, the content of the consent form and the experimental procedures should not be altered. If subsequent changes are necessary, an amendment must be filed specifying the changes. Approval for the changes must be received by the researcher before data collection can resume. To submit such a revision, email the revised protocol with changes highlighted and a cover letter explaining the general scope and rationale for the revisions.


I finished my Senior Thesis (project). What should I do next?

Final reports must be submitted at the conclusion of any research conducted under IRB review. This is not required for research that was determined to be exempt. You may find Final Report Form in Downloads at the bottom of this page.


What if my Supervisor is External Expert?

If your department Chair assigned you to an External Expert/Supervisor, you must, therefore, consult with your respective department Chair, who will guide you through the process, and help you submit the application. The IRB needs to ascertain the extent to which the external expert/supervisor has the supervisory experience, undergone research ethics training, and has a formal ongoing relationship with AUCA that will cover a reasonable period of time after the completion of the research project submitted for IRB review.


What if I am late with my deadlines?

IRB Members have tight schedules and the review process requires at least 15 business days. Therefore, it is your responsibility to submit the research protocol along with supporting materials at least one month prior to your deadline. NO EXCEPTIONS can be made.


I have submitted my research project for review by the review window “Proposals Due” date. But have some missing documents or information. Will my application be considered as submitted on time?

No. Application form must be duly completed and all supporting documents must be submitted in one application by the deadlines. Please see above for instructions about format for documents, and email subject line. Not following the instructions will result in delay of your application.


Whom should I consult in case of questions?

You should be working closely with your faculty supervisor as you develop your research methods and your project description. For detailed advice about the content of your proposal, your faculty supervisor should be your first source of guidance.

American University of Central Asia
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