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Forgo the Fear Factor: It’s Not That Scary!. Holly Gutman, LEJA Graduate Student Research Symposium Spring 2011. Introduction Purpose: To alleviate the fear of beginning a research project. Learning Objectives: The researcher will understand the process of… coming up with a research topic.

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Forgo the fear factor it s not that scary

Forgo the Fear Factor:It’s Not That Scary!

Holly Gutman, LEJA Graduate Student

Research Symposium Spring 2011

Forgo the fear factor it s not that scary


  • Purpose:To alleviate the fear of beginning a research project.

  • Learning Objectives:

    The researcher will understand the process of…

    • coming up with a research topic.

    • completing human subjects training.

    • obtaining approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB).

The research topic
The Research Topic

  • Things to consider:

    • Is it interesting?

    • Is it relevant to your area of study?

    • How accessible is the data?

    • Is it feasible?

    • How long will it take to research?

  • Tips for finding a topic:

    • Listen to topics discussed in class.

    • Do a literature review.

    • Talk to professors and practitioners.


  • Do not pick a topic that is too broad.

  • The more narrow the topic, the easier it is to input and analyze the data.

  • Example

    • Too broad: Abused and neglected children

    • Narrowed down: Factors that contribute to delinquency among abused and neglected children in Des Moines County, Iowa

Institutional review board irb
Institutional Review Board (IRB)

  • What is the IRB?

    • Independent ethics committee that reviews research involving human subjects at an educational institution

    • Regulated by the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) within the Dept. of Health and Human Services

    • Purpose: to protect rights and welfare of research subjects

  • What type of research is required to go through the IRB process?

    • Human subjects

    • Identifiable private data

Step 1 human subjects training
Step 1: Human Subjects Training

  • If doing research on human subjects or obtaining and analyzing identifiable private data, the researcher must complete mandatory human subjects training:


National institute of health nih training
National Institute of Health (NIH)Training

  • For: Biomedical or Social/Behavioral Research

  • Time to complete: Less than 1 hour

Collaborative institutional training initiative citi
Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI)

  • For: Social and Behavioral Research

  • Time to complete: ~2 hours

Step 2 preparing consent documents
Step 2: Preparing Consent Documents

  • Informed Consent/Assent

    • Needed if interacting with human subjects

    • Prepare document and language to be approved and stamped by IRB

  • Letter of Support

    • Needed if obtaining data from an outside entity (community org., govt. agency, etc.)

    • Include in IRB proposal

Forgo the fear factor it s not that scary

Step 3: IRB Review Forms

  • Exempt Review:

    • Lowest risk to human subjects

    • Anonymous or publicly-available data

    • Least potentially-harmful experiments

  • Expedited Review:

    • Minimal risk to human subjects

    • Not anonymous

    • Requires informed consent/letter of support

  • Full Review:

    • Greater than minimal risk to human subjects

    • Can include: non-exempt research involving children, vulnerable populations, experimental drugs or devices, invasive procedures, or sensitive questions about sexual practices or illegal behavior

Tips for filling out irb review form
Tips for filling out IRB review form

  • Clearly state purpose, aims and objectives of project and justification for research.

  • Describe data collection methods and collection dates, location, frequency and duration.

  • State sample size and describe population, including vulnerable populations.

  • Explain screening procedures and inclusions/exclusion criteria.

  • Describe why vulnerable populations are necessary and justify any inclusion/exclusion of these populations.

Forgo the fear factor it s not that scary

Tips cont…

  • Describe setting, location and timing of recruitment.

  • Describe recruitment methods and any compensation or reimbursement.

  • State timing, location and setting of obtaining consent and who it will be obtained from (participant or legally authorized representative).

  • Describe how identifiers will be removed and information will be kept private.

  • Describe how risks to human subjects will be minimized.

  • Describe anticipated benefits of research and how participants will be notified of results.

Forgo the fear factor it s not that scary

Step 4: Submitting IRB Forms

  • Fully complete form

  • Include all supporting documentation, material, consent, and/or cover letter

  • Submit to Office of Sponsored Projects:

    Western Illinois University

    Office of Sponsored Projects

    Sherman Hall 320

    1 University Circle

    Macomb, IL 61455

Step 5 waiting for approval
Step 5: Waiting for Approval

  • Exempt and Expedited Reviews

    • 7 to 10 days

  • Full Review

    • Up to 30 days


  • Remember: It’s not that scary!

  • Do a little advanced leg work and it will be a simple process.

  • Do not hesitate to ask for help from professors.


Special thanks to
Special Thanks To:

AngelaTee, IRBComplianceSpecialist


Faculty Advisors

JillJoline Myers andKimberlyDodson