Sunday, May 1, 2011

University of Iowa: Ask IRB Before Reading Poetry

I recently reported on the University of Iowa's Stanley Graduate Awards for International Research, whose information page seems to require applicants to contact the IRB, even if they are studying twelfth‐century church records, ancient Greek and Roman houses, or Neanderthal worked bone technology. This requirement is based on the false assertion that "Federal regulations do not allow investigators to make this determination [of whether they are conducting human subjects research] themselves."

It turns out that the university's information page on Fulbright Grants also refers applicants to the IRB page with the falsehood about the federal regulations.

That same Fulbright page includes a link to a profile of UI alumnus Geoffrey Hilsabeck, who won a Fulbright to study Portuguese poetry at the University of Lisbon. Presumably anyone wishing to follow in Hilsabeck's path and study poetry abroad with Fulbright funds needs to first check in with the IRB.

If so, I suggest they borrow a line from the profile: "The approach Hilsabeck used in his research was fairly unsystematic – as it should be with poetry, he says."

No comments: