unusual irb requests
I’m reposting this from Scatterplot:
And another question on behalf of someone else. My IRB thinks it is not possible for them to approve to network research using a methodology in which subjects are handed a list of names and asked which people on the list they know. The reason for this, per IRB, is that people have to sign a consent form before their names can be put on any such list. Thus the researchers are being told that everyone has to sign two consent forms, first for the compilation of the list, and second for doing the survey. This IRB regularly says that organizations cannot turn over lists of their employees or members to researchers for the purpose of initiating a request to be in a research project. Is this a common objection? Does anyone have examples of research with a similar methodology getting approval from other IRBs? Would it make a difference if the list in question is public or semi-public, i.e. a paper neighborhood or school directory that is delivered to everyone in a neighborhood or school, or a web site that lists all of a group’s members? Please cross-post elsewhere if you know of another pool of people who might know the answer. (I’m thinking of orgtheory here, but there may be other groups.)
This seems like an abnormally aggressive position for an IRB. Any suggestions for OW? Has anyone else had a similar experience working with their IRB?
It seems like the real privacy issue is protecting the people on the list from knowing if ego picked him or her as a friend. It’s not as if ego doesn’t already know who works in his or her company. As long as you were able to protect the anonymity of subjects once the data were compiled in a data set, I’m not sure why this is a concern at all.