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Updated 10:00 AM November 19, 2007




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Survey assesses investigator experiences with IRBs

The Institute for Social Research (ISR) is conducting an online survey of campus investigators who are conducting human subjects research to assess their experiences with the Institutional Review Board (IRB) process.

The survey, scheduled to begin Nov. 28, is funded by several schools and colleges on campus, along with ISR and the Office of the Vice President for Research. Investigators selected for the survey will receive a formal invitation from ISR.

"This survey will give researchers from a broad range of disciplines, including the biomedical and social and behavioral sciences, the opportunity to report their experiences with the IRB review process," says Jim Lepkowski, a research professor leading the ISR survey team.

The survey includes questions about investigator experiences with eResearch; attitudes toward regulations and other aspects of the campus human research program; and about the types of information and guidance that investigators would find helpful when completing IRB applications. It also will establish benchmarks to compare current levels of satisfaction with the IRB process to those in future surveys.

The participants in the survey are to be selected from campus principal investigators who have active research projects involving human subjects. "We know that concerns about confidentiality may determine, in part, whether someone participates in a survey. ISR has been protecting the identity of research participants for more than 60 years. We'll keep the identity of survey participants confidential and known only to the ISR research team," Lepkowski says.

The questionnaire was developed after conducting focus groups with various stakeholder groups, including IRB administrators, chairs, board members, institutional officials and principal investigators. The research team expects to gather 1,300 completed surveys. Preliminary findings are planned for release in spring 2008.

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