Research Policies in Public Health: IRB

An Institutional Review Board (IRB) is a committee formed by educational, health, or research institutions for the purpose of reviewing and approving research that involves human subjects. The primary role of the IRB is to make sure that all research involving human subject are conducted according to all the ethical, institutional and federal guidelines (American Public University System, 2016). It should be noted that IRB only focuses on research that involves living human beings whom an investigator or researcher conducts a study or research on and obtains data through interaction or intervention with them (American Library Association, 2016). Also, it reviews research that includes information that can be considered as private or confidential. Additionally, IRB reviews research that contains secondary analysis of datasets that already exist where participants are personally identifiable (Lincoln and Tierney, 2004). The IRB is important in research and therefore it should be applied early on in a student’s research.

So, why is IRB important and why applying early on in a student’s research is important? Research refers to the systematic investigation that includes development of research, evaluation and testing, designed in contributing or developing to generalizable knowledge (Cornell University Office of Research Integrity and Assurance, 2016). Applying IRB is important in helping the investigator or a researcherto first to establish if his or her research involves human subjects. This can be established by finding out if during the research process data will be obtained through interaction or intervention with the living individuals, and if there are any identifiable confidential or private information (Lincoln and Tierney, 2004).

IRB is also important in defining what intervention and interaction entail. Intervention includes physical procedures of collecting data, as well as manipulations that are made to the subject or their environment for the purposes of research. Interaction entails interpersonal contact or communication between the researcher and the subject, such as is the case in interviews and surveys (Miser, 2005). Private or confidential information relates to the information regarding the behavior that happens within a context in which the subject can expect that no recordings or observation is taking place. It also involves information which the subject has provided only for specific purpose of research and which he or she can reasonably expect that it should not be made public (Cornell University Office of Research Integrity and Assurance, 2016)………….Research Policies in Public Health: IRB