- Carefully plan the ethical aspects of your study from the very beginning.
- Use the abstract section of the IRB application to summarize your study, with special attention to human subject interactions.
- Examine model applications and IRB review guides.
- If you have questions, telephone and talk with your IRB administrator.
- Ask yourself if you would honestly want someone you love to participate in your study.
- Work hard to ensure that recruitment materials yield equitable and noncoercive results.
- Write consent forms at an eighth-grade reading level.
- Overestimate risks and underestimate benefits.
- Educate and debrief subjects on the nature, purpose, and findings of your study.
- Establish procedures to delink identifying information from main data sets and sources.
- Establish procedures to encrypt any and all identifying information and destroy it as soon as possible.
- If you disagree with an IRB decision, read the regulations and then ask for an in-person meeting to discuss things.
- Remember that research is not a right but a privilege and IRBs are peer review groups.
- Use lay language in the application and explain terminology that is unique to your discipline.
- Remember: IRBs do not exist to frustrate researchers; they are a direct consequence of many documented violations of very basic ethical principles.
Adapted from: Oakes, Michael J. (University of Minnesota)
Risks and Wrongs in Social Science Research: An Evaluator’s Guide to the IRB;
Evaluation Review, Vol. 26 No. 5, October 2002, 443-479.