Irbs and Psychological Science: Ensuring a Collaborative Relationship
APA Board of Scientific Affairs Working Group
10 Pages Posted: 8 May 2006
Date Written: April 2006
Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) are federally-mandated, locally-administered groups charged with evaluating risks and benefits of human participant research at their institution. To a greater or lesser extent, risks and potential benefits exist in virtually any research with human participants, including research in the behavioral/social sciences. Federal law and APA standards require IRB review of all human participant research projects. IRB review and approval will likely bring an investigator into contact with two inter-related groups: the IRB and the professional staff that administers IRB activities. Due to a variety of factors, including increased IRB and faculty workload and enhanced federal oversight, the potential for conflict among IRB members, IRB administrators, and investigators may be great. Indeed, anecdotal evidence suggests that this potential for conflict may be particularly high for behavioral scientists, and that dissatisfaction with IRB review may jeopardize compliance with federal regulations, research participant protection, and research itself. The purpose of this paper is to suggest specific strategies that IRB members, IRB administrators, and investigators can use to avoid potential conflict and facilitate human research participant protection. We contend that when these groups understand and face these responsibilities collaboratively, conflict will be minimized and safe, ethical, high quality research will flourish.
Keywords: research, ethics, IRB
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation