Texas Tech University

Vulnerable Populations

Vulnerable populations require special considerations and additional safeguards to protect the rights and welfare of these participants. Individuals in these groups may be considered potentially vulnerable because they may not be able to make informed decisions for themselves, they may be in situations in which they can easily be manipulated, or they may be a convenient and readily available study population.

Vulnerable populations may include but not limited to:

  • Children
    • Expedited proposals that involve children require two reviewers and will possibly require a longer review time frame. An assent form will be required along with the parental consent form. Research involving schools may require school administrative approval and knowledge of FERPA regulations.
  • Prisoners
    • Research involving prisoners are submitted as full board proposals. The research team will be required to attend a full board meeting on the last Tuesday of the month.
  • Individuals with Impaired Decision-Making Capacity
    • Adult or child participants who are unable to fully understand the informed consent process due to a traumatic brain injury, developmental disorders, intellectual disabilities, and serious mental illness are other common and devastating problem.
  • Economically or Educationally Disadvantaged Persons