Recruitment and the IRB


Getting your recruitment processes and materials approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) is an important part of study start-up and management.

Here are some tips and resources to help you with the approval process. See the section on IRB for more details about IRBs at U-M.

How to Write your IRB Application to Decrease Amendments

When completing your eResearch IRB application for recruitment plans, it is important to think about all of your potential recruitment needs. Because IRB amendments often take time and can halt the progress of the study, we suggest thinking of all possible recruitment methods even if they do not seem relevant at the time. Preparing and thinking ahead will help to cut down on any amendments you may need to make during the recruitment and enrollment phase of your project.

We recommend ideas such as:

  • Using social media (Facebook, Instagram, etc.)
  • Community events (health fairs, sporting events, etc.)
  • Using (previously

(You will not be penalized by the IRB if you do not end up using every recruitment method you list.)

Plan Ahead to Ensure IRB Approval for All of Your Recruitment Materials

All study-specific communication materials need to be approved by the IRB through the eResearch application before public distribution. This includes not only recruitment materials but also any information given to the participant during the study.

Study-specific communication materials include:

  • Poster
  • Flier
  • Study brochure
  • Physician-to-patient email
  • Physician-to-patient letter
  • Physician-to-patient card
  • Print advertisement
  • Radio advertisement
  • TV advertisement
  • Internet advertisement
  • Social media advertisement
  • Email campaign
  • Direct mail campaign
  • Patient portal
  • Scripts

The IRB must review and approve both the context (copy, script) and the final layout (ad, flier, radio spot, news release, etc.) before to publication/distribution. Changes cannot be made to materials without IRB review.

Our Participant Recruitment program at MICHR can help you with review of these materials before they are submitted to IRB. Please see the section on the MICHR Participant Recruitment Program or contact us at to learn more.


University of Michigan IRBMED – Recruitment Advertising
U-M IRBMED provides guidance regarding recruitment advertising including flier templates.

eResearch Application Section 8-1 Subject Recruitment
See training and reference materials for questions in the eResearch application pertaining to recruitment.

Questions and Disclaimer

If you have questions about any of the resources on this page, please contact the sponsoring office directly. MICHR is not responsible for the content of these resources.

Resources on this page may not be an exhaustive list. If you know of other resources in this category, please let us know using the "Suggest a Resource" link at the bottom of the page.

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