Subject to limited exceptions, we require sociology students to include an empirical dimension in their Senior Project research. This might involve interviews, ethnographic research, participant observation, content analysis of internet-based information, quantitative data analysis, or interpretation of historical sources. Where this empirical dimension involves live human beings, IRB approval is required.
The online application for IRB approval, together with important and helpful information, is available at the Bard IRB website. If you think that you would like to do research with human subjects, you should work closely with your faculty adviser prepare an IRB proposal at the earliest possible stage in your Senior Project research.
Preparing an IRB Proposal
In addition to the IRB’s web-based application, you will need to prepare a separate IRB proposal, which briefly describes your research and details the approach you will take with your human subjects. In reviewing your proposal, the IRB will pay close attention to things like: (1) whether you are proposing to interview people who are particularly vulnerable in some way (e.g. children), (2) how you will be protecting the confidentiality of information you receive from your human subjects, and (3) how openly and clearly you disclose your approach in seeking informed consent from your research subjects.
You should anticipate the likely possibility that IRB approval will not be given immediately—you will probably need to make revisions, in response to IRB feedback on your initial proposal.
Sample IRB Applications
Sample IRB applications are provided below. You are encouraged to use these as models, but make sure to adapt them to your project.