In this section we will look in detail at the IRB form that you will fill out for WRIT 250. You will submit the Student Class Project Application form to your teacher, and, upon approval from the IRB, can begin to conduct research. To access the form, go to the IRB Forms page, click Class Project Forms, and click on Student Class Project Application. Your computer should download the form as a Microsoft Word document. Once you have access, look at the application as we cover each section below.
In the first set of boxes, after clicking in each of the grey areas, provide your name, the course (WRIT 250), your instructor’s name, the date you complete the application, and the working title of your research project. (The form will automatically wrap lines and expand text boxes as necessary.)
For Project Description, offer the overview of your study (i.e., what you are investigating), a brief description of the method(s) and sample group(s) you are using to conduct your primary research, and the rationale (or purpose) of your study. For example, you might be researching the impact of foreign language instruction in elementary schools by interviewing college students. You hope to find out whether/how foreign language classes in elementary school have influenced students’ motivation to continue studying foreign language(s) and to study abroad in college.
Research Procedures then wants further details about your method(s) and sample group(s): what, specifically, will you ask your participants to do (or what information will you collect about your participants) and how will you collect that information? You might, for example, indicate that you will individually FaceTime 3-5 participants for 20-30 minute interviews each. You will use a semi-structured interview research design by having some standard questions for each interview but will ask follow-up questions as need be. You plan to ask permission to audio-record the interviews but will take notes regardless.
The Materials section concerns your materials (or the instruments that you will use). Some projects, like the one described above, might have a short list of 5-7 questions that you will ask each participant. Others might require a printed survey that you will pass out after your chapter meeting. Still others might involve an observation protocol that will help you tally numbers of (inter)actions or collect descriptions of items or people present. Your instruments may involve more than one of these methods, and each instrument must be tailored to the project you have envisioned/designed. Your answer here can be fairly descriptive in nature, highlighting what your instrument looks like in general rather than providing all of its details.
Your response to Interview Protocol is where you provide the details of your instrument. First, provide what you will say and/or supply to your participants in order to obtain their informed consent. Then, list the actual questions/items/statements/etc. that you will include in the instrument itself. If you are using an observation protocol, you want to detail the specific items that you will observe/collect/note during your observation.
The Confidentiality/Anonymity section asks you to specify your procedures for ensuring the confidentiality and anonymity of your participants. Depending on your methodology, your answers here will vary, but you need to provide an outline for how you will maintain confidentiality and anonymity throughout your research process. Always err on the side of caution and always be up front with your subjects.
At this point, when you have completed, revised, and edited your application waiver form, you should print out the document as you have completed it.
Then, for Certifications, you should certify that each of the statements applies to your proposed project by writing/signing your initials in each box. You need to be able to initial each line except the final one in order for your project to be approved by your instructor.
The final text box is just for student projects that involve minors. The only primary research projects that can involve minors for WRIT 250 are ones that take place in already established educational settings, such as student observations for education majors. These settings still require the informed consent of those involved, but you must meet the criteria listed under Footnote 4 in order to proceed with a research project with minors in your sample group.
The final step of the form, then, is to sign and date your completed application before submitting it to your instructor. You must receive the approval of both your instructor and the IRB office before beginning your primary research. Your instructor will indicate to your class when IRB approval has been received.