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September Assignments: Post an update regarding your IRB Process

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Team 1 note:  the reserach about Faculty Learning Communities suggests that in addition to work-related conversations, it is valuable to continue to develop the friendships that we began at the Institute.  So, taking a cue from Conrad, I'd like to encourage us to include a sentence or two (and photos, if you like!) about what you have been up to each month. 


Julie's update:  August was all about traveling and IRB.  First, the traveling.  My family drove out to TN for my Great-Grandmother's 100th birthday party.  I have attached a photo of our 5 generations, plus a picture of her arriving at her party on the back of a motorcycle!  She is quite a lady!

August was also all about IRB for me.  I already had IRB approval for my BioTAP reserach, but I wanted to amend it to include chemistry majors.  So, I learned all about the "Request to Amend" form. 

I also already had IRB approval for a Citizen Science project that I do over the summer, but my collaborator who submitted that paperwork for IRB submitted it to our medical school instead of our campus IRB.  So, I learned how to close out the medical school IRB and resubmit this proposal to campus IRB. Not difficult, but a pain in the neck to figure out.

Finally, I decided to resubmit a lapsed IRB to study CT skills in our intro biology course, and learned that if your IRB expires you basically have to submit it as if it is a new request.  Again, it was not hard, but took a little time. 

The bottom line is that I took the advice we got at the institute and CALLED our IRB staff to establish a good relationship with them.  That was so valuable, and I think made the process faster than it might have been.  


Conrad's Update:

 My month of August has mostly been trying to learn how to balance a teaching overload (including teaching stats for social sciences for the first time), a new family, and a ton of service duties (new Director of the Honors Program in addition to department coordinator and six committees). 

In terms of the IRB, I have the advantage of my project being in the spring and a HUGE advantage of being on a really small campus.  I can pull the form off our intranet, fill it out, and submit it to the committee which will take several whole "days" to evaluate my proposal.  Not that I plan to wait until December to submit it, but I likely could submit it then and still have approval before spring term.  Sorry to those of you who have more challenging tasks.

Miriam's update:

The month of August was all about getting settled into our new home and jobs. We started teaching the week of Aug. 17, so we're starting to hit our stride with classes. On a personal note, the highlight of my month was taking a ride on a Blackhawk military helicopter. My new college is a military institution, so this was one AWESOME perk. I attached a picture and a video of the event (which hopefully you all can open).

In terms of IRB, I am teaching the class I wish to study in the spring, so I have a bit of time. Luckily, one of the members of the IRB is a member of the Bio Dept., so I've been asking him questions about the process. I checked out the meeting dates for the NGCSU IRB and determined that I need to have my things in to them by Oct. 27 so that I have plenty of time to obtain approval before the semester is out. I downloaded the IRB application and it doesn't look too bad.

I am starting to design the instruments I will use and I am presenting my work at UGA in early Oct. to get feedback on research design (thanks for helping me make those connections, Julie!). Hopefully, I will be in good shape to submit my application by the late Oct. deadline.


Lisa's update

What happened to August; please don't tell me its September already!  August was fun.  I turned 40 and my parents flew into Denver (from Seattle) and surprised me!  It was a great weekend.  That weekend we also found out that our new "male" guinea pig was actually a pregnant female.  On August 11th 2 baby guinea pigs were born (I have attached a picture collage in PowerPoint of my daughters and the pigs).  We also went back to school August 17th.  I have been in the research lab at all possible moments (I go up for tenure next year and this is my make it or break it year for bench research so I apologize for being behind on the SoTL). 

My SoTL research project won't get going until Spring, but I have just about completed the IRB process for a project I am participating in this semester.  Three of us are looking at the affects of blogging on student attitudes about bringing technology into the classroom.  My blog can be found at  I am pretty proud of how it is going so far.  The IRB approval went smoothly.  Basically we are going to do pre (beginning of class) and post (end of class) attitude surveys and then see what changes / what didn't.  I attached the pre-questionnaire if you want to see the kind of questions we are asking.  IRB approval was straight forward for this project because there are no identifiers.  We are handing out the questionnaire, leaving the room, and asking the students to put the form back in an envelope.  There are no points given for participation, so no coercion issues and again no identifiers.

This has given me a good introduction to the types of issues I need to think about with respect to my research project for the Spring. I am glad I have talked to our IRB officer and made that connection.

I will be working on my rubric soon, so I will be ready to post more shortly.

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Viewing 4 of 4 comments: view all
You have certainly had the full IRB experience! Amendments, resubmits, closing out a study. It was a good idea to speak to an IRB staff member; it really facilitates the process.
Posted 08:24, 1 Sep 2009
Seems you have plenty of time to get your materials together for IRB approval. If you are submitting for October 27, when will you hear if your study has been approved?
Posted 08:27, 1 Sep 2009
Oh, to be 40 again! It sounds like you have moved through the IRB process smoothly and I find it is always helpful when PIs discuss their projects with IRB people.
Save those blogs somewhere on your computer. In the future, you might want to code what the students wrote for common themes. Although it can be time consuming, I learned so much about what my students, knew, didn't know and were experiening by analyzing their text. edited 17:12, 2 Sep 2009
Posted 17:10, 2 Sep 2009
Nice to know you have a little time before you need to forge ahead with an IRB application.
Posted 17:14, 2 Sep 2009
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