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Institutional Review Board (IRB): Eligibility Criteria

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What is eligibility criteria?

Eligibility criteria is a list of criteria that someone is required to meet in order to be eligible to participate in your study. You will write eligibility criteria if you are conducting human subjects research.

Watch the webinar below to learn more about eligibility criteria:

Writing Your Eligibility Criteria

Your eligibility criteria should be so clear that a potential participant can read it and say "Yes, I am eligible for that study" or "No, I am not eligible for that study." Keep the following in mind when writing your eligibility criteria:

  • Include "Are age 18 or older" in your criteria if you are only recruiting adults and a minor could otherwise be eligible for your study
  • Name any specific organizations or locations that participants must be associated with
  • If you have multiple participant populations (such as students and teachers) use sub-headings to clearly label each group and then list the eligibility criteria for each group.

Please watch the webinar below for more information and specific examples:

Attend a Group Writing Session on Eligibility

The NCU IRB recommends that you attend a Group Writing Session and receive feedback on your eligibility criteria before you submit your IRB application.

Eligibility Criteria in Your IRB Application

Eligibility criteria will appear in 3 locations with your IRB application:

  1. The "Recruitment" section of your application
  2. Your recruitment materials
  3. Your consent letter

Your eligibility criteria should be exactly, word-for-word the same in all 3 locations.