Considerations for Inclusive Research Practices

An IRB Office must concern itself with university, state, and federal regulations. We must also consider policies that govern different types of research sites.

At it's core, however, the point of human subjects protections and the reason for the existence of IRB offices is to help researchers mitigate risk to the human participants in scientific research, while maximizing the benefits to them (or to society at large).

For scientists working in diverse communities -- communities they identify with personally, communities where they have strong professional ties, or communities where they are relative outsiders -- the regulations and policies are pivotally important. So, too, however, are other considerations.

Begin with these questions:

(1) Do my participants understand "risk" in the same way that I do?

(2) Do my participants understand "benefits" in the same way that I do?

(3) Do I seem risky to the community and if so, why?

(4) Do I seem beneficial to the community and it so, why?

(5) Upon what evidence am I basing this conclusion?

(6) How do I incorporate divergences in perspective on 1-4 in a way that does not force my views on others? 

(7) If the benefit of my research is to "society at large," is my community included in this assessment?