Are you thinking of becoming a volunteer for research? Are you a current or past volunteer? If so, we hope we can answer any questions you have.
An Institutional Review Board (IRB) is a group made up of scientists, non-scientists, community members, and health care professionals. These groups make sure that human research is fair and just. They also make sure that the rights of participants are protected.
If you have any questions or concerns about any research at or being done by Virginia Tech, please contact the IRB Chair, Dr. David M. Moore. His phone number is (540) 231-4991 and email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you feel like you have been treated badly while participating in research, please email the IRB Post Approval Monitoring Officer, Andrea Nash, at email@example.com or call her at (540) 231-0014. When you call, you do not need to give your name, if you wish. Even if you give your name, it will not be given to the researchers unless you are okay with that. Your complaint or comment will be given to the researchers, but we will not give your identity without your permission.
Use our online survey to send us your complaint or concern over the Internet.
The above link will address such topics as:
- What is research?
- Why is research important?
- Questions to ask
Additional Information for:
If a research project involves children, the researcher needs to ask the parent or guardian to let their child be in the project. The researcher has to give you details about the research so you can make this choice. A form called the Parental Permission Form is given to the parents, which explains the research. You will likely be asked to sign and date this form if you agree to let your child participate. Read this form carefully. Pay attention to the risks of participating and the things your child will be asked to do in the project. Think about the information the researcher wants to get from your child. Could it make your child upset or uncomfortable? These kinds of questions may cause emotional distress to your child or your child's responses could be subpoenaed in court. You can ask questions at any time and/or decide to not let your child participate.
Your Child's Assent
If your child can understand the research study, your child will be asked if he or she wants to participate. This is called "assent." Your child might also be asked to sign an Assent Form. The information given to your child has to be explained in language that he or she can understand. Encourage your child to ask questions and to make his or her own decision about participating.
What happens if you agree to let your child be in the study, but he or she does not want to participate? If this happens, your child's choice will be upheld unless participating in the study has benefits to your child.
Treating You & Your Child with Respect
Under IRB regulations, the researcher may not force you to agree to let your child participate. The research also cannot pressure or force your child to participate. If you feel you or your child have not been treated with respect, please contact the Virginia Tech IRB.
Disclosure of Abuse, Neglect, or Intent of Harm
Researchers are required by law to report to the correct authorities if there are signs that a child is in danger. This includes probable child abuse and neglect. It also includes any signs that the child may have the intent to harm him/herself or others.
If you are a college student, remember that the most important thing is that being in a research study is your choice. No one should be forced or tricked into participating in research. Professors, advisors, and students should also not force other people to be in their research studies.
Typically, extra credit is given to you for participating in a research study. If you do not want to be in the study, the researchers should give you other choices for extra credit. The options must be either the same (or less) amount of work or time it takes to participate in the study.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that being in a research study is your choice. Teachers should not be forced into participating by their superintendent, principal, supervisor, or the researchers. Everyone else in the school must not be pressured into participating or accepting the research into the school.
All of the children may choose not to be in the research. They must be treated as free-thinking individuals and with respect. If you feel the children are not being treated in this way by the researchers, please contact the IRB office.
Before research is allowed in a school, the researcher must first get the IRBís and the school's approval. Typically, the school's superintendent gives or denies permission first. If he/she gives permission, the school's principal is contacted for approval. Finally, the teachers provide individual permission for their classroom.