The IRB (Institutional Review Board…a group of people who nitpick your proposed research studies that involve people to make sure you aren’t exploiting or causing harm to mind or body) hates me. That’s the only explanation I have for why it’s been THREE months since I submitted my proposal and I have yet to gain approval so that I can crank this mutha’ up. Am I poking hapless undergrads with cattle prods? Am I verbally abusing them, drawing blood? No, no, and no. I’m administering an online questionnaire that will take maybe 20 minutes of their time asking them questions about social beliefs.

Their explanation? My research subjects are students who are taking an undergrad class on educational psychology and research, and they have to participate in a few studies in order to get their research credits for the class. IRB has an issue with a statement I make in the consent document that basically states that if our reliability checks determine that they didn’t attend to the questions, that they won’t get class credit for participating in the study. They say it amounts to coercion. Right.

I understand the purpose of the IRB, and I respect their mission in principle, but for the sake of all things holy, why in the hell is it taking them this long to approve me? At this point, I won’t be able to collect data this year, putting me even further behind, considering I’d intended to submit something to APA (American Psychological Association), AERA (American Educational Research Association), AME (Association for Moral Education) and maybe APS (American Psychological Society) for next academic year. If they don’t get their asses in gear, I don’t see any of that happening, and I could possibly graduate with no publications or respectable conference presentations.

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