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Examples of Research Projects Requiring IRB Review

Examples of Full IRB Review:

2010 Shanghai World Exposition: Cognitive and Racial Perspectives
I propose to undertake an ethnography of the 2010 Shanghai World Exposition (SWE) in Shanghai, People’s Republic of China. I will use an on-the-ground ethnographic approach to investigate where and how discourses of identity--racial, cultural, and national--are produced by participants of the SWE, utilizing data collected to bring a critical lens to “East” and “West” categories typically employed in studies of cognitive psychology. The final product of my research will contribute to my Div II work.

  • This requires full IRB review because it is occurring abroad AND because it is looking at sensitive information in the context of the site of the research. This study would require site authorization.


Perspectives on Genetic Testing
My division III dissertation aims to investigate familial understandings and conceptions of Huntington Disease (HD)--an autosomal dominant disease. Since 1993 there has been an accurate genetic test to determine if an asymptomatic individual at risk for HD has the mutation. However, there has been very little successful research into treatments for HD and there are currently no cures. Because of this the question arises--what is the utility of knowing one's own gene status if there is nothing that can be done? I will be interviewing individuals in HD families, hopefully some who have been tested and some who have not, some who are gene-positive and some who are not, and some who are symptomatic and some who are asymptomatic.

  • This requires full IRB review because it involves sensitive information: Huntington Disease Status.


Autobiographical Memory for Goal-Related Events
Autobiographical memories for personal past experiences are often connected to events that are considered to be emotional. The purpose of the present study is to examine if the emotional valence (positive, negative) of past events and changes in emotional intensity (i.e., fading) are linked to a specific quality of the event in children ages 6 to 10. In particular we are interested in exploring 1) the connection between event importance and changes in emotional intensity and 2) the role of personal goals and whether the significance of these goals over time is linked to the emotional experience participants report.

  • This requires full IRB review because it involves a vulnerable population: Children. This study would also require an assent form in addition to usual consent forms.


Expedited IRB Review:

Agriculture, Community, and Sustainability
For my Division III project, I plan to conduct ethnographic research at the Hope and Joy Farm in Binghamton, Vermont. I will explore questions such as: In what ways are environmental, economic, and socio-cultural sustainability addressed by the farm and by the CSA program in particular? What motivates CSA members to purchase local produce from a small-scale, sustainable farm? As part of my research, I will conduct participant observation, helping out on the farm, at CSA pickups, at the farmers' market, etc. while observing and interacting informally with the farmers and their customers. I will also conduct more formal interviews with the farmers, with CSA members, and possibly with other members of the community. The product of this research will take the form of ethnographic writing.

  • This requires expedited IRB review because while off campus, it is not using a sensitive population and involves minimal risk and no deception. This study would require site authorization.


Data Mining Facebook to Predict Psychometric Test Scores
The basis of my project is to find out if it is possible to predict an individual’s score on a psychometric test using online data mining and machine learning. I will be using Facebook information to attempt to predict an individual’s score on a lexically derived five factor model of personality using a Bayesian network. The end result of this will be a model that hopefully will be able to predict an individual’s score based on their Facebook data. This will allow me to explore how an individual’s interests and presence on a social network is related to their personality.

  • This requires expedited IRB review because personal information is gathered from online sources. It is not, however, using a sensitive population and involves minimal risk and no deception.


Risk and Profit
The purpose of the study is to use a modified version of the Iowa Gambling Task to investigate how people make decisions under conditions of risk and uncertainty. Furthermore, I want to correlate decision making styles with different personality variables, such as depression, anxiety, behavioral activation/inhibition, and locus of control. Many previous studies using the Iowa Gambling Task have made inferences about various decision making styles and these personality variables, which I believe may be misleading due to the contrived nature of the classic Iowa Gambling Task. I would like to re-examine these correlations using my variant of the Iowa Gambling task so that I can pick apart whether previously found correlations are more related to safe/risky decision making or good/poor decision making.

  • This requires expedited IRB review because it is not using a sensitive population and involves minimal risk and no deception.


Exempt from continuing review:

Opinions on Republican Candidates
This study is an anonymous online survey to determine the opinions of participants about current candidates for the upcoming 2012 presidential elections. Participants will also be asked about their views on different political issues and these views will be correlated with their opinions about the different candidates to determine if their political views correlate with their candidate choices.

  • This is exempt from continuing review because no identifying information is being collected, there is not direct contact with participants in any way, and the information collected is not sensitive in nature.


Shopping Behavior
This study is an observational study of shopping behavior. It is hypothesized that people shop more at stores with larger sale signs as compared to those with smaller or no sale signs. Fifteen observations will be made over the course of a one-month period with notes made of the number of people entering designated stores during each observation period.

  • This is exempt from continuing review because no identifying information is being collected, there is not direct contact with participants in any way, and the information collected is not sensitive in nature.
 
 

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