According to Downing and Tenney (2008), an Institutional Review Board (IRB) also known as the Research Ethics Board (REB) is a particular type of committee used in research in the US with the mandate to monitor, approve, and review behavioural and biomedical research whose participants are mainly human beings. This body carries out different types of risk-benefit-analysis with the aim of determining whether a given research should or should not be undertaken (Rubin & Babbie, 2011). The role of IRB in the US has been emulated in both the developed and developing countries by establishing national, regional and local organizations to review different researches carried out in their regions. This effort plays a critical role in safeguarding ethical research conduct regarding domestic and international laws, regulations, norms and codes (Bui, 2009). It is, therefore, essential to discuss the importance of Institutional Review Boards in research alongside the importance of a student deciding to apply early on before conducting his or her research.
Importance of the IRB
Bui (2009) states that the IRB acts as an objective third party as well as an oversight committee administered by the federal regulations with a critical role of protecting and managing all risks that may affect the lives of all individual respondents who may be targeted as participants in a given research. IRB plays a critical role in ensuring that appropriate steps are put in place to protect the rights and the overall welfare of humans taking part as targeted subjects in a given research (Rubin & Babbie, 2011). For instance, these regulations are applicable on all federally sponsored researchers despite some research institutions such as universities' policies requiring all researchers carried out under their banners to meet the same ordinance (Downing &Tenney, 2008).
In summary, the role and the significance of IRB can be categorized into four major divisions. First, the IRB ensures the active promotion of the safety and the overall well-being of humans as participants in a given study (Bui, 2009). Secondly, IRB rules and regulations ensure that the researchers carry out their processes in a manner that adheres to the societal norms, moral and ethical values as well as principles underlying the entire research. Thirdly, IRB helps in ensuring that all researches and studies carried out are ethical and scientifically valid and accepted (Rubin & Babbie, 2011). Lastly, this body helps in allaying different concerns raised by the public about the responsible conduct exhibited in a given research.
Significance of Applying Early On Before Carrying Out a Research
According to Bui (2009), researchers are encouraged from time to time to apply to the responsible IRBs before carrying out their research. This practice has far-reaching benefits not only to the researcher but also to his participants. First, applying early on ensures that the researcher obtains the informed consent and overall authority from the responsible body. Secondly, the process helps the researcher to gain advice from the committee on whether the study he intends to carry out is beneficial to his target area or not (Rubin & Babbie, 2011). The researcher can then make critical decisions on whether to go on with the study or rectify a few areas to suit the demand of the target area. Thirdly, this process gives the researcher an early opportunity to understand different attributes of the study area as well as his respondents and provides the general experience on the ground basing on initial research findings (Downing &Tenney, 2008).
Research on human beings has become a common practice in the current society. Initially, scientific researchers carried out research involving human individuals with the use of other comparative subjects such as mouse and rats. It is therefore critical to ensure that people are adequately protected from the harmful effects associated with different studies especially those that use human as subjects. IRBs play a vital role in ensuring that there is adequate protection of the rights and welfare of the human subjects in research. However, the shift in technology and continuous advancement requires more studies to be carried out to understand how people can be properly engaged.
Bui, Y. N. (2009). How to write a master's thesis. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage.
Downing, M.J., &Tenney, L. J. (2008). Video vision: Changing the culture of social science research.
Rubin, A., &Babbie, E. R. (2011). Research methods for social work. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole Cengage.
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