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- Institutional Review Board
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Institutional Review Board: Frequently Asked Questions
See the following pages for specific information on each type of research:
Student conducting research
Faculty supervising student research
Faculty/staff conducting research
Physical discomfort, pain, injury, illness or disease brought about by the methods and procedures of the research.
Psychological effects may be experienced during the research situation and/or later, as a result of participating. Includes anxiety, stress, fear, confusion, embarrassment, depression, guilt, shock, loss of self-esteem, altered behavior.
Alterations in relationships with others that are to the disadvantage of the subject, including embarrassment, loss of respect of others, labeling with negative consequences, or diminishing the subject's opportunities and powers in relation to others. Economic risks include payment by subjects for procedures, loss of wages or income, and damage to employability.
Risk of criminal prosecution or civil lawsuit when research methods reveal that the subject has or will engage in conduct for which the subject or others may be criminally or civilly liable.
Loss of Confidentiality
Confidentiality is presumed and must be maintained unless the investigator obtains the express permission of the subject to do otherwise. Risks include invasion of privacy, as well as the social, economic and legal risks outlined above.
Federal regulations define "minimal risk" as follows: "The probability and magnitude of harm or discomfort anticipated in the research are not greater in and of themselves than those ordinarily encountered in daily life or during the performance of routine physical or psychological examinations or tests." In broad terms, a project involves minimal risk if:
- The participant experiences no pain or physical danger;
- The participant experiences no emotional arousal or psychological stress beyond the levels normally to be expected in everyday life;
- The project neither induces nor attempts to induce long-term significant change in the participant's behaviors (including attitudes toward self and others);
- The data would not embarrass or socially disadvantage the participant, were confidentiality to be violated; and
- If the investigator conceals information about the specific purpose of the project, there is no reason to believe the subject would choose not to participate if s/he had known that information initially.
If you are planning to collect body fluids or tissue, a statement that indicates that persons at increased risk for Hepatitis B or C or HIV (AIDS) infections should not donate blood or other body fluids. In order to locate source subjects quickly, the informed consent document should contain the current address and telephone number of the subject. Compulsory screening of source subjects for infections should not be done except where such screening is required to protect the validity of the research data. In those cases where an investigator asserts that screening is necessary, the need for such testing must be justified to the IRB. A sample statement follows:
Persons who have ever had hepatitis B or C, who have tested positive for HIV or any AIDS virus, or persons who have AIDS should not donate body fluids or tissues. Persons at risk for getting and spreading any AIDS virus also should not donate body fluids or tissue and should not participate in this investigation. You are at risk if:
- You are a man who has had sex with another man since 1977, even one time.
- You have shared a needle, even one time, to inject drugs or medication.
- You have taken clotting factor concentrates for a bleeding disorder such as hemophilia.
- You have ever had a positive test for any AIDS virus or hepatitis B or C or any AIDS antibody.
- You have had sex with any person described above.
- You have had sex with a male or female prostitute since 1977.
No. Expedited review does not mean your protocol application is processed faster; rather, fewer reviewers are assigned to review your protocol. However, most protocol applications submitted by the deadline date are processed within 10-14 days.
Some studies require that participants not know everything about the experiment in advance (e.g., double-blind studies require that participants not know what condition they are in; studies of prejudice are not likely to be valid if participants know they are being tested for prejudice).
It is essential for the researcher to justify any design that does not permit the participant to be fully informed or that requires deception. Deception should not be used if other effective methods are possible. The researcher should give participants as much relevant information as can be shared without undermining the experiment. The information should be sufficient for the participant to make a reasoned decision about participating. When deception is used, the researcher has an increased responsibility for the participant's welfare.
The IRB may approve a consent procedure that does not include, or which alters, some or all of the elements of the informed consent specified above, or it may waive the requirement to obtain informed consent provided that the IRB finds and documents that:
- The research involves no more than minimal risk to the subjects;
- The waiver or alteration will not adversely affect the rights and welfare of the subjects;
- The research could not practicably be carried out without the waiver or alteration;
- Whenever appropriate, the subjects will be provided with additional pertinent information after participation.