IRB Policies and Procedures

Incentives in Research

Incentives granted in research should be appropriate and researchers must take great care concerning undue influence on participation. For research requiring participants to undergo only minor inconvenience or discomfort, a modest payment is usually adequate. Volunteers are often compensated for their participation according to an established fee schedule, based upon the complexity of the study, the type and number of procedures to be performed, the time involved, travel and the anticipated level of discomfort or inconvenience. Payments may vary according to a number of factors, however, researchers need to justify payments to the Institutional Review Board or Exempt Review Committee based on the variables. The ethical principal of justice must be kept in mind when formulating an appropriate incentive or payment schedule.

Marywood University's Fiscal Policy

In addition to ethical considerations, researchers must adhere to Marywood University's fiscal policies and procedures when designing their studies.

If researchers are paying participants out of their own funds, Marywood University's fiscal policies do not apply.

If payments are being funded by a grant, contract or other award (i.e. graduate student research award, Research Initiation Funds, Professional Development Award, etc.), the following must be submitted to Fiscal Affairs for all participants:

For one-time payments $25.00 or under:

  • List of Participants' Printed Names
  • Participants' Signatures
    Note: If participants can only make their mark (i.e., "X"), a witness to this should sign.  The signature of a Marywood affiliated witness must be provided for each X.

For payments over $25.00 or for participants who receive payment for more than one study in a calendar year:

  • List of Participants' Names
  • Completed and Signed IRS W-9 Forms


For an aggregate payment to a single participant of $600 or more during a given year, an IRS Form 1099 must also be submitted to Fiscal Affairs for that individual. It is the researcher's responsibility to know whether or not a participant is required to submit this form.

Please contact the Fiscal Affairs Department for further information.

Types of Payment

  • Cash Payment
  • Check Payment
  • Gift Cards


Payment for Minors Involved in Research

Regardless of the funding source, where minors will be involved in research, payments must be made directly to the parent(s). Researchers need to consider not only the actual value of an incentive, but the perceived value. For instance, a minor might believe an older model iPod Nano to be a desirable incentive for participating in a study with high risks, even thought the researcher may feel that the incentive would be relatively inexpensive based on the procedures involved.