The Institutional Review Board (IRB) process, also known as “Human Subjects,” can be a difficult and confusing task for most graduate students. The UCSB Office of Research held an information session on the IRB process at the UCen on March 5. If you missed the session, here is the scoop.
Melodie Blakemore, Senior Research Integrity Specialist and “jack of all trades,” was available to clarify procedures, with an assist from her Research Integrity and Human Subject Specialist colleagues, Melissa Warren and Dorin Donohoe.
Blakemoke explained that the Human Subjects Committee is not your adversary; they are the advocate for your human subjects. They want you to succeed and to advance your research, but they also want to protect the interests of those who are studied. For these reasons, they recommend you provide as much information as possible--explain in detail what you plan to do with your human subjects and how you plan to protect their interests.
The Human Subjects Committee wants to make sure the
- Risks to subjects are identified and minimized
- Risks to subjects are reasonable
- Selection of subjects is equitable
- Informed consent is sought
- Informed consent is documented
- Adequate provisions are taken to protect individuals identity
So you should think about
- Who are your subjects?
- Where and how will they be recruited?
- What are your inclusion/exclusion criteria!
- Will there be payment/credit to subjects (if any)?
- Is the payment fair?
- What if subjects drop out?
- How will you prorate the payment?
- Are you studying vulnerable populations (elderly, prisoners, children)?
For a successful review, you should also
- Talk to your faculty advisor.
- Don’t wait until you have a project pending to start preparing.
- Think through all the aspects of your project.
- Seek assistance from the Human Subjects Staff.
- Fill out all the application information requested.
- Submit your request 4-6 weeks before you need to collect data.
For more great advice, see the investigator handout.