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Before Starting Research

When getting prepared to begin your research for your thesis or dissertation, you should be aware of resources on campus that can assist you in navigating the federal regulations around research activities and help you avoid issues around copyright. Knowing your obligations and opportunities in the early stages can keep you from unnecessary delays or unfortunate conflicts during your dissertation process or afterwards.

Office of Research, Innovation, and Economic Development

The Federal government regulates research activities involving human subjects, animal subjects, radiological materials, and biological materials. For each of these areas, there is a campus committee that reviews proposed research projects. Application forms for obtaining such approval are available at the websites below:

The Office of Research, Innovation, and Economic Development (ORIED) also provides basic information on these compliance areas as well as campus compliance and safety committees.

ALL faculty and students who will be conducting any Human Subjects research must complete the online training course in IRB/Human Subjects Research prior to submitting their protocol to ORIED. If you have questions about regarding IRB/Human Subjects research, you may email or call 865-974-7697.

Another federally regulated activity is the export of goods, technologies, and information in sensitive areas. An example is the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITARs) administered by the U.S. Department of State. The ORIED has developed an online training course in Export Control. Contact Dairin Malkemus at 865-974-0232 or to schedule a session.

ORE has partnered with the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) program to allow UT-affiliated researchers the opportunity to participate in online research ethics education for the following subjects:

  • IRB/Human Subjects Research
  • Responsible Conduct of Research
  • Conflict of Interest
  • Export Control

Research is a vital component of graduate study, regardless of whether students are enrolled in a degree program that requires a thesis or dissertation. Learning research fundamentals and tools will serve you well whatever the structure of your graduate program. ORE, located in Blount Hall at 1534 White Avenue, provides information and support to facilitate the various research activities of faculty and students. The office also reviews and processes proposals for funding and negotiates contract provisions with sponsors. Resources for identifying funding opportunities are available.

Your thesis or dissertation is a publication, and must comply with best practices for publishing scholarly research. The University of Tennessee Libraries have prepared a graduate student toolkit which includes information and links to other helpful resources on their site. These resources show you how to comply with best practices and to help you when entering agreements with publishers that may conflict with the public nature of the thesis/dissertation at UT. As you decide on what research you intend to use in your thesis or dissertation, be aware of any previous publishing agreements you may have, if you intend to include any material you have previously published elsewhere. The following pages at the library may be of particular interest:

If you wish to speak with the Scholarly Communication Librarian, contact Rachel Caldwell (