4 Reasons Why an IRB Reviews Research Proposals
An Institutional Review Board (IRB) is usually placed in an organization or a higher learning institution that conducts studies using federal funds. The primary goal of an IRB is to evaluate research proposals before submitting them for funding requests or before data collection. The board confirms whether the proposal has followed the recommended ethical principles, which protect the rights of people used as subjects of study. It has the power to reject, request for amendments, or approve the proposals.
There are usually at least five members of the committee drawn from diverse backgrounds. Before being appointed to the IRB, prospective members should demonstrate that they have extensive experience and professional qualifications to offer a suitable ethical and scientific review.
What Role Does an IRB Play?
A project often needs IRB approval if the researchers obtain data by interacting with people or getting identifiable private data. Here is what the IRB does.
Ascertains That the Study Protects Human Welfare
The board does initial and periodic reviews to establish whether researchers have taken reasonable steps to guard the rights of all people who participate in the study as subjects. To achieve this goal, the board is responsible for reviewing all research procedures using a group process review. All researchers who use involve people as subjects of their studies should always receive IRB’s before they recruit the subject or start the data collection process.
Checks Whether a Project’s Risks Have Been Minimized
Whenever the board reviews a researcher’s materials, it decides whether the study maximized its stated benefits, and reduced risks involved. The board then determines if the research benefits rationalize all the risks that the subjects have to endure. They can only approve a proposal once they can prove this. An IRB may request researchers to make specific changes to the subject interaction procedures before resubmitting them for approval in certain circumstances. If the board determines that a project has not minimized risks during interaction with people, it has the authority of rejecting the proposal.
It Protects the Rights of Special Populations
Federal guidelines call for IRBs to give exceptional attention some special people who are used as subjects during studies. Some of the people include prisoners, kids, expectant women, and mentally challenged individuals. An IRB can only approve a proposal if the scholars demonstrate that the people will receive the study’s benefits directly. Also, all risks in data collection must be minimal.
Approve Class Research Projects Disseminated Outside the Classroom
In some cases, an instructor may have class projects whose aim is to teach students about conducting studies and how to implement specific research projects. If the project will only be undertaken in the classroom for educational purposes, the IRB's approval is not necessary. However, if the project and research procedures will be done outside the school, an IRB's endorsement is needed.
If your research proposal involves using humans as research subjects, it is best to seek the IRB’s approval before proceeding with data collection. This ensures that your research protocol minimizes risks entirely.