Friday, September 30, 2016

IRB consent form spooked respondents

Commenting on Patricia Aufderheide’s essay, “Does This Have to Go Through the IRB?,” a writer with the screen name “reinking” relates:

I was investigating a routine instructional intervention in a school district serving a large hispanic population. IRB required, not just that the consent form be translated into Spanish (not unreasonable if a consent form was necessary), but also that I develop several versions in different dialects. Nonetheless, when sent to parents, remarkably few were returned, and I eventually determined why. The standard template for IRB consent (modeled on far riskier medical research) indicated that any questions or concerns should be directed to me as “principal investigator.” “Investigator” was apparently a term (in English or Spanish) that set off alarm bells among parents in this hispanic community.

So much for IRB sensitivity to local conditions.

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