Predictably, IRB gave me a big, fat “NO” on the idea to have a raffle to recruit participants for my study. Never mind that practically every other IRB in the country allows researchers to use this technique. Never mind that the University frequently uses raffles as incentives. It would be impossible for me to offer something of value to every participant, because 1) I have no money and 2) no one seems to offer funding for things like this. You can use grants and research awards for things like postage, research equipment, and the like, but participant incentives are apparently a big no-no. So, I’m having to rely on the altruism of a bunch of undergrads, which, in my observation, will be akin to relying on a campus bus to arrive on time.

To add insult to injury, I had to (for the 4th year in a row) take a 10-item quiz about research protocol and protection of human subjects. It’s the same damn quiz every year, and it’s hardly difficult, but it’s mandatory. By taking and passing this quiz, one basically allows IRB to absolve themselves of any and all responsibility should something go horribly wrong in your experiments. “Well, we trained them and they passed the test, so how were we supposed to know that they thought it was morally acceptable to stick people with cattle prods? Not our problem!” It’s a complete joke, really. I say take it once and it’s good for your entire career at the university, but that would make too much sense.

Yes, I’m bitter about this. If I had the luxury of collecting data six months from now, you bet your ass I’d fight them on it. Right now, I don’t have the time or the drive to do so, because it could ultimately end up really screwing me. I just have to nod and smile and buy in to their bullshit. Small wonder no one really respects IRB anymore.

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