Academics: Office of the Provost

  • Apply Now

IRB Frequently Asked Questions

Question #1

What are the different types of sampling procedures?
See the following link for clarification: http://www.statpac.com/surveys/sampling.htm

Question #3

What is a power analysis?

Statistical power is the probability of detecting a change given that a change has truly occurred. For a reasonable test of a hypothesis, power should be >0.8 for a test. One conducts an a priori power analysis by using previously published results, and weighs the sample size, effect size, and alpha level of those results.

See the following for additional information: http://www.jeremymiles.co.uk/misc/power/

Question #4.1

What does “will you be collecting new data” mean?

In other words, will you be starting from scratch and collecting new data, or will you be using data that someone else has already collected?

Question #4.2

What does “random selection” mean?

Random selection means that EVERY person in your population has an equal chance of being chosen to participate in your study. If you are investigating the clothing choices of undergraduates at an HBCU, in order for you to truly have random selection, you would have gotten a list of EVERY student on campus, and randomly selected your participants from this list using a random number generator.

Question #5

What does “voluntary participation” mean?

Participants are participating through their own free will, and are not being coerced. Participants are informed that they may decline to participate and that they may withdraw at any time without penalty.

See the following for further information: http://www4.od.nih.gov/oba/rac/ic/appendix_m_iii_b_1_c.html

Question #7

What does “human tissue or cell lines” mean?

Examples would include samples of the following: blood, saliva, hair, urine, or feces.

Question #8

What are examples of each of the research methodologies?

Web survey—a series of questions completed by participants over the internet.

Questionnaire—a series of written questions completed by participant on his/her own. Researcher may be there to supervise.

Interview (Telephone)—the researcher asks a participant a series of questions over the telephone.

Interview (Face-to-Face)—the researcher asks a participant a series of questions in person.

Focus Group—similar to interviews, in which the researcher interviews 2 or more participants at the same time. These are typically done face to face, but may also occur over the phone.

Experiment—there are usually at least 2 groups, and the groups are treated differently based on the manipulation of the independent variable. Behavior resulting from this treatment difference is measured--the dependent variable. If one group gets a specific treatment and ones does not, usually the treated group is called the experimental group and other groups are called control groups. Conditions other than the independent variable are held as constant as possible for all groups.

Intervention Study—participants are selected from one population, and then split up into two or more groups. Typically, one group receives the intervention, and the other group does not (the control group). The two groups are then compared at the end of the intervention. The intention of interventions is to improve the condition of a group of people. For example, smokers may be recruited to participate in a study, and half will be participate in a smoking-cessation program, while the other half will not. At the end of the study, the two groups may be compared on their smoking behavior.

Evaluation Study—the researcher is interested in determining the effectiveness of an on-going program. For example, a researcher may want to evaluate the effectiveness of a needle-exchange program on reducing risky drug-use behavior.

Ethnographic Research-- Testing that is carried out under realistic conditions of use. Results are usually qualitative rather than quantitative. See the following for further clarification: http://www.sas.upenn.edu/anthro/CPIA/METHODS/Ethnography.html

Oral History-- Oral history is the systematic collection of living people’s testimony about their own experiences. Typically answers are free response, and are qualitative in nature.

Behavioral Observation—Researcher enters an environment simply to observe the behaviors of his/her participants. There is often no interaction between the researcher and the participants.

Question #9

What does “non-research purpose” mean?

This refers to data that was not originally collected for the purpose of research. Examples of this may include: exam grades from an Intro Biology course, video-footage of students engaged in campus events, observations reported in a diary.

Question #10.1

What does “data in the public domain” mean?

Data in the public domain have already been collected, and are accessible by the public. Examples of this would include census bureau data, voting records, and tax information.

Question #10.2

What does “identification of individuals” mean?

Does the data set reveal the identity of individuals? This could be because actual names are provided, or because enough information about each person is provided, that it is possible to deduce WHO each person is.

Question #10.3

What does “confidentiality” mean?

Confidentiality means that the research records have information that potentially could identify people, but that information is kept secure so that it will not be revealed to other people.

Question #12

What does “deceived” mean?

"Deception" is involved when participants intentionally are told something untrue (not the truth). This is NOT the same as concealment (when the researcher may not reveal all details of the research protocol). Deception should be used only if necessary for the success of the protocol and no alternatives exist. In this case, it must be justified and participants debriefed as soon as possible.

Question #14

What does “means of reviewing the results” mean?

In qualitative research projects, researcher may choose to provide a copy of the results to the participants prior to completion of the project (i.e. publication) to ensure that the contributions of the participants have been captured accurately.

In qualitative and quantitative research projects, researchers may choose to send a copy of the final product to the participants, as a courtesy.

Confidentiality/Anonymity Section

What is the difference between confidentiality and anonymity?

‘Anonymity’ means that the researcher is not recording any information that potentially could identify people. ‘Confidentiality’ means that the research does have information that potentially could identify people, but that information is kept secure so that it will not be revealed to other people.

Question #18

What does it mean when it asks if my findings will be used in part of publication or presentation?

Will you be using video images or audio clips during presentations? Or, will you use captured photographs in the write-ups of your work? (If you simply are videotaping or audio-recording for transcription purposes only, please answer “no” to this question).

Question #20

What does “nature of this research” mean?

How will participants be told about the purposes of your study, and what it means to participate?

Question #21

What does the following mean “The only link between the subject and the research would be the informed consent documentation, and the primary risk is loss of confidentiality”?

In this circumstance, the informed consent form is NOT separated from the data that are being collected. You should have provided substantial documentation for why this is necessary.

Question #24 d

What does “benefits to the participants or to others” mean?

Will participants be told what they may gain by participating or what you as the researcher may gain, or what society in general may gain from these results? Benefits should not be over-stated. Often there is no direct benefit to the participant, and this should be acknowledged.

Question #24 f

What does “risks involved and treatment available” mean?

If you answered “yes” to question 11 then you should provide your participants with details on how they will be compensated for these risks, and/or how to seek treatment for any psychological or physical injury that may result (i.e. MacVicar Health Center).

To confirm that a document has been written on an 8 th grade level, readability statistics, do the following:

  • In Microsoft Office 2007, click on the Office Button
  • Click on Word Options
  • Click on proofing
  • In the blue section, “When correcting spelling & grammar in word”, click in the box “Show readability Statistics”.
  • After you enable this feature, open a file that you want to check, and check the spelling. When Word finishes checking the spelling and grammar, it displays information about the reading level of the document.