Ethics and Behavior 14 (4):351 – 368 (2004)

Debra Debruin
University of Minnesota
It is not unusual for researchers to complain about institutional review board (IRB) oversight, but social scientists have a unique set of objections to the work of ethics committees. In an effort to better understand the problems associated with ethics review of social, behavioral, and economic sciences (SBES) research, this article examines 3 different aspects of research ethics committees: (a) the composition of review boards; (b) the guidelines used by these boards to review SBES - and in particular, behavioral health - research; and (c) the actual deliberations of IRBs. The article concludes with recommendations for changes in the review process and with suggestions for filling the gaps in knowledge about the way IRBs work.
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DOI 10.1207/s15327019eb1404_6
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