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Most research projects must receive approval from their institution’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) before they start. The IRB is a committee within the institution that reviews research proposals to ensure that they maintain the privacy and safety of human subjects involved in the research.
Any study that involves living human subjects needs IRB review, although some types of projects are exempt. The approval process involves filling out an application that describes the projects, its system for informed consent, its methods and goals. The application is then reviewed by the committee, which may request changes in protocols or further justifications to protect human subjects. Depending on the nature of the research and the process at a local IRB, getting IRB approval can be a simple procedure taking several weeks or a long, protracted negotiation that can hold up or alter research projects.
This 125-page guide has been designed to provide a general overview of IRB history and process, but focuses on the special needs of qualitative researchers. The guide has the following goals:
About the Co-Author:
Dr. Jo Anne Schneider has successfully developed IRB statements for a wide array of qualitative studies since the mid-1980s. She wrote the guidelines for IRB approval for students and courses at one university. She has also advised multiple students about informed consent and IRB statements. A former American Association for the Advancement of Science Policy and Technology Fellow at NIH, she is currently an Associate Research Professor at George Washington University. She also has an international reputation for university/community involvement, serving as a PennServe Community Based Fellow for Service Learning involving community/researcher partnerships. Recent major projects include developing a model to reach at-risk communities for NCI, the Faith and Organizations Project (www.faithandorganizations.umd.edu), and multiple projects related to social welfare and human services (see home.gwu.edu/~jschneid).
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|This guide is brought to you as a training tool by the Principal Investigators Association, which is an independent organization. The information presented and its contents are not connected with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or the National Science Foundation (NSF), nor are they endorsed by these agencies. All views expressed are those personally held by the author and are not official government policies or opinions.|
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