If you are new to research you may not be all too familiar with the Institutional Review Board (IRB), however in order to move forward with any research you may be thinking about you need their approval. So lets start with the basics what is IRB? IRB is the committee who reviews all research conducted by faculty, staff, and students. The goal of the IRB committee is to ensure high quality research is conducted in a responsible and ethical manner. The IRB committee complies with the University (whatever university you are attending or working at) as well as the federal regulations governing the protection of human subjects published by the Office of Human Research Protections within the US Department of Health and Human Service (HHS). In addition to overseeing research, the IRB ensures that students receive training in research ethics through the CITI program before any research may begin.
Whew I know that was a lot but now lets shift gears just a little and make this post personal. So If you're a fan of the blog then you know that I am sometimes a researcher lol. During the process of completing my dissertation it took me exactly 6 weeks to gain full approval from each of the institutions involved in my study. Now lets break that part down, I had to receive approval from my degree granting institution and the institution I actually did the research at. At the institution I actually did the research at not only did I need IRB approval but I needed a sponsor from their University to make sure I complied with all rules and regulations of the University. That was night mare in itself (but we will discuss that another day). I said all of that to simply say I wish I knew then what I know now.
Now, if you've read this far, pat yourself on the back
and read the tips below. I promise they will help you keep your sanity and gain approval faster:
1. Know all requirements for each institution in ADVANCE! 2. Stay abreast of relevant requirements and changes to the IRB process. 3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. ( Seriously, whatever you need or want to know just ask!) 4. Provide detailed information with your application packet. (This is the one time I will tell anyone, if you can say more, say it! Answer every question in detail because they will come back for more information!) 5. Make sure to have someone check your application before submission. 6. Complete your CITI-training in advance, this will save you a lot of time! 7. Also, make sure everyone who is involved with your research has completed their CITI-training and the documentation is submitted with your IRB application. (If your committee chair, sponsor or anyone involved in your research hasn't completed their CITI training this will absolutely hold you back. Don't let something so minor slow down your progress.
I hope this helps you beat the beast they call IRB... if you need additional information feel free drop me a line or contact your schools IRB office.