Ethical research approval in a timely manner: IRB process flows and implications for redesigning them
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Type of Workapplication/pdf
DepartmentDivision of Science, Information Arts, and Technologies
ProgramInteraction Design & Information Architecture
RightsThis item may be protected under Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Law. It is made available by the University of Baltimore for non-commercial research and educational purposes.
Academic researchers have many complaints about the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at their institution, including the opaque decision making, the long wait times for decisions, and numerous other nuances unique to particular institutions. The IRB is a necessary entity to ensure that any research with human subjects at its institution is conducted ethically. Most researchers are not submitting applications for approval from the IRB often, and therefore the experience they have the first time is key to their perception of the value of the IRB, which in turn distracts from the goal of the IRB in the first place. This study sought to determine what aspects of the IRB process at institutions are pain points for researchers. After examining perceptions and experiences with IRB processes from 9 participants, findings showed that it is not necessarily long wait times or bad form design that make the process painful for researchers. Rather the user journey, as a whole, needs to be designed to minimize frustration and maximize confidence in their research. Recommendations for designing or redesigning the IRB submission process are discussed, which include design implications for an online submission tool.