May 26, 2022  
Policies and Procedures Manual 
Policies and Procedures Manual

08:24:00 Educational Research

Revision Responsibility: Vice President for Planning, Research and Assessment
Responsible Executive Officer: Vice President for Planning, Research and Assessment


To establish procedures for conducting research.


TBR Policy 02:08:00:00 applies as if copied at length herein.

I. General Policy

Walters State supports educational research that is relevant to its mission, strategic plan, or other college approved initiative. Examples of research include, but are not limited to, surveys, dissertation and thesis research, marketing studies, and independent projects using college data. Researchers must adhere to the federal standards on ethical conduct of research. Due to the complexity of the field of research, potential investigators are referred to federal regulations, policies, and guidelines for more information.

WSCC has established an Institutional Research Board (IRB) to ensure that the rights and welfare of human subjects are properly protected. Research by individuals or groups associated with the TBR system must be reviewed, and when appropriate, be approved pursuant to 45 CFR 46.111 by all appropriate IRBs. Research conducted by persons not affiliated with TBR must obtain approval from the WSCC IRB pursuant to 45 CRF 46.111. All published data analysis or reports using data obtained from TBR or WSCC, either electronically or in print, must comply with the federal guidelines in the protection of editable, small cell data, including but not limited to the federal Gramm Leach Bliley Act, 15 U.S.C 6801-6809 (See also WSCC Policy 08:24:01).

Research initiatives will be coordinated with required assessments to avoid duplication of effort and over-surveying students, faculty, and staff whose participation in any research is voluntary. All research must first be approved by the IRB and administrative heads of college units affected by the study. The potential researcher should initiate the approval process by completing the WSCC Institutional Research Form, which may be obtained from the Office of Planning, Research and Assessment (OPRA).

II. Policy for Use of Animals for Research

Depending on the animal definition, the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (1996 or the most current version published by the Institute of Laboratory Animal Research, Commission on Life Sciences, National Research Council) and/or the Animal Welfare Act (Title 9 CFR Chapter 1 Subchapter A) shall be the criteria for researchers to follow regarding the humane treatment of animals for scientific research purposes throughout the TBR system institutions.A. Each researcher engaged in such research is personally responsible for obtaining, perusing, and applying the principles, standards, and procedures of the Guide.

III. Technology Transfer

  1. TBR institutions must comply with federal laws concerning the protection of national security and military secrets by preventing foreign governments from accessing military and other technologies via the research processes of American universities.
  2. All institutions will have policies at the level appropriate for the specific institution in relation to the transfer of technology. These policies must comply with the provisions of the Arms Export Control Act, 22 U.S.C. 2778.

IV. Cash and gift card payments to research participants

  1. General
    1. Payments to research participants, regardless of delivery method (check, direct deposit, cash, traditional gift card or electronic gift cards) are considered compensation by the Internal Revenue Service. Research participants receiving more than $100 in any calendar year for one study must provide name, social security number and home address at the time of the receipt of payments.
      1. Personally identifiable information should be gathered in a manner which prevents disclosure of personal information to other research participants.
      2. Signatures must be obtained from research participants indicating receipt of the cash or traditional gift card payment.
    2. Payments of greater than $100 to research participants for participation in studies should be made through the institution’s accounts payable system via check or direct deposit.
    3. Some research studies use low dollar payments to compensate participants for time, inconvenience, or as an incentive to increase participation. When such payments are no more than $100 per payment per participant, and individual participant payments aggregate to less than $600 per study, it may be appropriate to make payments utilizing cash, traditional gift cards or electronic gift cards as long as the following procedures are followed.
  2. Prohibition from use of cash or gift cards in research studies
    1. No payment from cash or gift cards may be made to a WSCC employee or non-resident alien.
    2. Cash may not be used to purchase gift cards.
  3. Procedures for safeguarding and accounting for cash and gift cards in research studies
    1. Cash or gift cards for research studies must be assigned to a custodian, e.g. a member of the research study staff, responsible for safeguarding the cash or gift cards.
    2. Cash or gift cards for research studies must be maintained under lock and key by the custodian of the funds.
    3. Access to the cash or gift cards for research studies must be controlled by the custodian of the funds.
    4. The balance of cash gift cards on hand plus participant receipts must equal the cash and gift cards authorized and obtained. If a shortage of cash or gift cards on hand is determined, the shortage must be reported to the institution’s Bursar’s Office immediately.
    5. Cash or gift cards must be used for research participant payment only and may not be used for departmental or other research expenses.
    6. Cash and gift cards for research participants are subject to audit at any time by the institution, State Audit, or funding agency.
    7. Cash and gift cards for research participants are required to be closed out at the end of the research study and any excess cash or cards must be returned to the Bursar’s Office.
  4. Distribution of cash or gift cards to research participants
    1. Cash or traditional gift cards must be hand delivered to research participants. These funds cannot be sent to participants through the mail. If participant payments must be mailed, cash or gift cards cannot be used and the payments need to be in the form or a check or direct deposit processed through the Institution’s Accounts Payable department.
    2. The method of tracking gift cards should record the following information:
      1. Recipient name or, in the case of anonymous or confidential human subject participants, the participant ID number;
      2. Date of distribution;
      3. Signature of PI authorizing disbursement to recipients;
      4. Purpose of payment;
      5. Serial number of the gift card;
      6. Amount of gift card;
      7. Signature or initials of study participant or recipient, if available.
    3. Alternate method of record keeping for anonymous and confidential surveys - for anonymous surveys and confidential research participants, the PI must maintain a reconciliation of the number of cards given equaling the number of surveys or participants.1. This reconciliation must be approved by the supervisor of the person disbursing the cards.
    4. Alternate method of record keeping for mailed and electronic gift cards - for electronic gift cards, the department must maintain a reconciliation of the number of cards given equaling the number of surveys or participants.1. This reconciliation must be approved by the supervisor of the person disbursing the cards.
    5. Payments aggregate to $600 or more per participant are required to be reported as income to the Internal Revenue Service. 09/06; 10/12; 01/15; 05/16