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Protecting Research Subjects: IRBs in a Changing Research Landscape

Given the many changes in the research environment since the model for the institutional review board (IRB) was codified in 1981, tensions may arise as IRBs try to fulfill their obligation to protect human subjects while confronted with competing goals to advance science and support the interests of researchers and their institutions. This study was designed to learn how different types of IRBs carry out their basic functions in overseeing human subjects research and to discover how IRB members perceive their obligations in light of competing goals and the resulting tensions.

 

Key words/concepts: human subjects research, institutional review boards, human subjects regulations

Given the many changes in the research environment since the model for the institutional review board (IRB) was codified in 1981, tensions may arise as IRBs try to fulfill their obligation to protect human subjects while confronted with competing goals to advance science and support the interests of researchers and their institutions. This study was designed to learn how different types of IRBs carry out their basic functions in overseeing human subjects research and to discover how IRB members perceive their obligations in light of competing goals and the resulting tensions.

 

Key words/concepts: human subjects research, institutional review boards, human subjects regulations

Ann Freeman Cook and Helena Hoas, "Protecting Research Subjects: IRBs in a Changing Research Landscape," IRB: Ethics & Human Research 33, no. 2 (2011): 14-19.