The Vulnerable Researcher and the IRB

Alice Dreger

, 10/03/2008

The Vulnerable Researcher and the IRB

(Research) Permanent link

“Why don’t you just go through the IRB process to protect yourself?” one of my colleagues asked me (again) the other day. And I sighed (again).

My tendency is to respond to this question with what is pretty much the standard objections of my fellow members of the American Historical Assocation, objections reiterated again this week by the AHA leadership: IRBs are not set up to understand what we oral historians do. (Why else could they do things like ask us to provide them with lists of standardized interview questions and ask us to destroy our interview tapes?) Besides, the U.S. Office for Human Research Protection has clarified that oral history-taking is an excludable research practice, so why should I subject myself (and thus, ultimately, my discipline) to an unnecessary bureaucratic exercise?

“Because,” say colleagues to whom I put this, “it makes sense to protect yourself.”

This just depresses me. To say that I should go through an IRB to protect myself is to tacitly admit that IRBs have stopped being about what they were supposed to be about: protection of vulnerable subjects in biomedical research.

But the answer depresses me, too, because it fails to understand the ethical value of keeping the researcher in a vulnerable position. To remain “unprotected” by my university’s IRB system—to remain vulnerable—is to remain highly aware of my obligations to those I interview for my work. Without the supposed “protection” of my IRB, I am aware of how, if I hurt my interviewees, they might well want to hurt me back. At some level, I think it best for my subjects that I keep my kneecaps exposed.

In an ideal world, the process of IRBs would induce researchers to engage in thoughtful ethical reflection about their duties and obligations to their subjects. In the real world, researchers I talk to often think that, once they’ve gotten IRB approval and “consented” their subjects, their ethical obligations are done. Experienced researchers learn the IRB system so well that they (understandably) reuse the same basic applications and consent forms from project to project. Even if they began the IRB application experience, in graduate school, with real ethical reflection, they’ve lost it three or four rounds in. By the time they get tenure, it’s just annoying paperwork.

So why do I not apply to my IRB when I do oral history work? Because oral history is excluded. Because IRBs don’t understand what we historians do. But most importantly, because I’m trying to be ethical.



Posted by Greg Kaebnick at 10/03/2008 02:41:38 PM | 

Thirty-five years ago, Jay Katz and I argued that one function of informed consent was to stimulate "self-scrutiny" in an investigator, because the need to describe a research project to prospective subjects, and to prepare oneself to respond to their questions, would provoke in (thoughtful and responsible) investigators an anticipatory examination of what harms were being risked and how the investigator was prepared to deal with them and to justify asking another human being to run these risks for the sake of science. I think that Prof. Dreger's sense that she is more likely to attend to the interests of the people she interviews if she does not feel that she has satisfied her obligations to them by obtaining a stamp-of-approval from an IRB reflects very much the same sense: researchers behave more ethically if they imagine themselves facing another person who puts tough questions to them about what they have done, or are proposing to do.

Alex Capron
Posted by: ( Email ) at 10/3/2008 8:18 PM

very nice post, i certainly love this website, keep on it
Posted by: ( Email | Visit ) at 8/16/2013 2:48 PM

C'est une très bonne idée! Je veux juste vous dire merci pour l'information, il suffit de continuer à écrire une telle position. Je serai à vos fidèles lecteurs. Merci encore.
Posted by: ( Email | Visit ) at 1/15/2014 3:06 AM

Biomedical ethics is an umbrella term describing the value-laden decisions related to many features of health besides medicine. The subject encompasss hospital care, medicinal research, moreover the jolt of advanced technology on the person. Despite there are dozens of controversial substances regarding biomedical ethics, matters relating to life plus death tend to condition most prominently.
Posted by: ( Email | Visit ) at 4/7/2014 7:28 AM

It is sometimes incredibly nearly impossible to find good and valuable information within this subject matter. Your website is usually the strategy to sought after facts, the dilemma is usually sorted out at this point. Appreciate it intended for placing anything value examining. Thanks for that.
Posted by: ( Email | Visit ) at 5/18/2014 1:47 PM

Well that's an interesting post for sure. I've enjoyed reading it. Hope you will keep posting such a high class stuff here in the future too!
Posted by: ( Email | Visit ) at 5/26/2014 6:36 AM

What an awesome website. I am so happy that I've found it. Bookmarking it right now and getting back here as soon as possible!
Posted by: ( Email | Visit ) at 5/29/2014 12:24 PM

Well, I have got some useful and valuable information from this website. Thanks for this type of site. Want you will continue to post same useful content in the future.
Posted by: ( Email | Visit ) at 7/1/2014 8:42 AM

With regard to veggies, it is advisable to bake, bbq grill, disect, saute, as well as vapor, as an alternative to cook. Beverage recently well prepared vegetable or fruit juices, water, and plant based herbal tea rather than carbonated drinks. Folks who wants tolerate not really having soda, better look for diet regime carbonated drinks as well as those that have artificial sugars. Try and then to steer clear of refreshments that are branded "made via concentrate".
Posted by: ( Email | Visit ) at 12/5/2014 10:02 AM

Most of us have heard the particular clich? "a wholesome entire body residences a proper mind" and due to research now that we know this for a fact.
Posted by: ( Email | Visit ) at 12/6/2014 5:13 AM

Existing any well-rounded healthy life is not only very important to the medical element and also given it decides the grade of living all of us lead, it impacts every one of the facets of the existence. Whenever we would not have great health we simply can't focus on each of our perform or perhaps the interactions, the two our own skilled along with our personal life is certain to endure.
Posted by: ( Email | Visit ) at 12/6/2014 9:09 AM

You could have pointed out that your own right hand is actually more powerful and greater as opposed to left. It is because you use your own right-hand more than the left-hand. When you acquire correct exercise more o2 along with eating routine are equally sent out within your system. Physical exercise can keep an individual totally free of many illnesses.
Posted by: ( Email | Visit ) at 12/6/2014 3:03 PM

Beverage recently well prepared vegetable or fruit juices, water, and plant based herbal tea rather than carbonated drinks.
Posted by: ( Email | Visit ) at 12/24/2014 3:01 AM

nice article
Posted by: ( Email | Visit ) at 2/14/2015 5:04 AM

Great post. Thanks for sharing
Posted by: ( Email | Visit ) at 3/11/2015 2:26 PM

thanks for his information
Posted by: ( Email | Visit ) at 4/13/2015 4:20 PM

thanks for posting
Posted by: ( Email | Visit ) at 4/14/2015 11:00 AM

it was really good one.
Posted by: ( Email | Visit ) at 4/14/2015 11:01 AM

thanks for posting good one
Posted by: ( Email | Visit ) at 4/14/2015 11:02 AM

A good trip will help you relax fully, re-energize and also reclaim the drive for creativeness along with inspiration.
Posted by: ( Email | Visit ) at 4/18/2015 2:07 PM

Remarkable journey encounters instill a great deal of good attributes throughout people, characteristics that could have withered over time, or perhaps those that we've not revealed but.
Posted by: ( Email | Visit ) at 4/18/2015 2:08 PM

Young couples venturing with each other normally enjoy happier and healthier associations as opposed to runners that don't. Travelling with each other may make partners very likely to be satisfied of their associations, appreciate better enchantment, and converse nicely making use of their companions.
Posted by: ( Email | Visit ) at 4/18/2015 2:08 PM

Given the fact that these types of prescription medications aren't a desirable thing to ingest in the body, most of them getting numerous side-effects and the vast majority of them increasing into a long-term poisoning by the body processes.
Posted by: ( Email | Visit ) at 4/18/2015 4:27 PM

Naturally, a person experiencing discomfort will give almost anything to get out of the particular pain and doesn't have a lot of alternative, yet frequently modest problems can be treated inside other ways. Add to this your birth-control and also sleeping pills that will perhaps healthy teenagers think about on a regular basis so you certainly have trouble in hand.
Posted by: ( Email | Visit ) at 4/18/2015 4:28 PM

When it comes to nutritious diet, there are once again several misguided beliefs. There are several individuals who recommend the reason for healthy eating natural meals and they are very totally up against the utilization of plant foods and also pesticides within their food items. Lots of people also feel extremely highly concerning genetically modified food though there continues to be absolutely no noted demonstration of this specific triggering any kind of illness as well as disease. Yet simultaneously, these people don't even think 2 times in terms of taking prescribed drugs on a regular basis.
Posted by: ( Email | Visit ) at 4/18/2015 4:28 PM

Herbal products can be extremely effective in dealing with bad moods, poor memory, inability to focus as well as mind problems like attention deficit disorder (Add and adhd). That they boost all round intellectual function although helping remove individuals harmful microorganisms including candida.
Posted by: ( Email | Visit ) at 4/19/2015 4:20 PM

Posted by: ( Email | Visit ) at 4/20/2015 10:43 PM

This is such a Great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. It gives in depth information. Thanks for this valuable information.
Posted by: ( Email | Visit ) at 4/29/2015 6:04 AM

In a similar manner, I've observed how my very own past attitudes of bad personal-belief and very low confidence have led me to get increasingly narcissistic and arrogant. I thought that given that one particular perspective didn't job, the view's reverse intense would need to function. But I was deceased incorrect. I forced myself to believe the opposite, but ignored confronting my insecurities in a realistic way.
Posted by: ( Email | Visit ) at 5/8/2015 12:42 PM

PromoChums is a full service advertising company situated in Jaipur. We offer unprecedented graphic designing, trend offset printing services and website development. We are committed to understanding your specific needs and bringing them to life with highly creative and precise design. Our streamlined service translates these concepts to print, making your job easier and much simpler.
Posted by: ( Email | Visit ) at 5/23/2015 3:12 AM

Your writing is so cool and good. I like this blog. Thank you for sharing such a good things with us and this is very imp info for me. i search this info everywhere on number of sites but i found full info only on your site. thank you so much now i wish you
Posted by: ( Email | Visit ) at 5/24/2015 2:11 PM

A medical expert is the finest guide when it comes to prescription drugs. However medical professionals aren't well versed with regards to diet and, therefore they have the identical medical issues as the rest of us.
Posted by: ( Email | Visit ) at 6/30/2015 3:45 PM

The situation upon obesity comes up with a person not simply using cultural elegance but more to the point it can be associated with significant medical problems. Such problem has really impacted all ages with assorted level of circumstances inside the modern society.
Posted by: ( Email | Visit ) at 7/6/2015 3:55 PM

This is a great post. I feel you covered all the necessary bases. This is very useful information for online review readers. Keep it up such a nice posting like this.Thanks for sharing..
Posted by: ( Email | Visit ) at 7/21/2015 4:46 AM

Women are interested in guys that may not search in which fine however that are well-groomed and odor wonderful. Take a look for your toenails and also toenails, ensure that these are well groomed since most women assess males by simply claws -- merely a glance at your current fingernails if they're as well as well buffed will tell them if you are mindful of your own proper grooming.
Posted by: ( Email | Visit ) at 7/28/2015 2:57 PM

Correct contentment is said to be each a great inside light plus an exterior the radiation that you could sense in addition to a good total satisfaction.
Posted by: ( Email | Visit ) at 8/4/2015 3:23 PM

Dictionaries provides you with this is involving contentment as an emotional experience which in turn characteristics with
satisfaction, enjoyment, along with contentment. Then again these items are simply momentary.
Posted by: ( Email | Visit ) at 8/4/2015 3:24 PM

The concept of very first schedules is loaded with possibility of devastation. Independent of the undeniable fact that if you achieve it completely wrong you can drop any fantasy connection there are the opposite worries also.
Posted by: ( Email | Visit ) at 8/7/2015 2:52 PM

Guys will show you almost everything around the initial two schedules... then practically nothing for the following two years. After the initial two times it will require any load up of wild farm pets to be beyond him.
Posted by: ( Email | Visit ) at 8/11/2015 3:05 PM

Schedule is most toughest things to solve in every day life. we are almost done our all things in daily bases. we can't deny what we seen in the past. the disaster we are talking about, when we see the Japan bomb exposure on youtube we really realize then what we going to get in the future.
Posted by: ( Email | Visit ) at 8/17/2015 1:53 AM

Leave a comment
Name *
Email *

Connect with the Forum

Get Permissions

RSS feed