Other Possibilities

Studying government officials

Zachary Schrag was able to interview current and former officials of OHRP, the American federal oversight agency. This material enabled Schrag to paint a devastating portrait of the agency at work. 1 Burris and Welsh used publicly-available OHRP determination letters to paint an equally devastating portrait of OHRP as seen through its work product. 2

Studying other scholars

Burris and Moss conducted an illuminating series of interviews with researchers about their views of their ethics review boards.3  I did an email survey of scientists funded by NIH on the same topic. People who write me usually are having problems with their ethics review process, but the survey brought home to me that some researchers are fortunate enough to be in universities with committees that are committed to helping scholars do their work.4

1. Schrag ZM. Ethical imperialism: Institutional review boards and the social sciences, 1965-2009. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press; 2010.

2. Burris SC, Welsh J. Regulatory paradox in the protection of human research subjects: A review of OHRP enforcement letters. Northwestern University Law Review. 2007;101(2).

3. Burris SC, Moss K. U. S. health researchers review their ethics review boards: A qualitative study. J Empir Res Hum Res Ethics. 2006;1(2):39-58.

4. Whitney SN, Alcser K, Schneider CE, McCullough LB, McGuire AL, Volk RJ. Principal investigator views of the IRB system. International journal of medical sciences. 2008;5(2):68.

Please comment ...