Rhetorical Strategies for Working with Institutional Review Boards

Elizabeth L. Angeli and Z. Koppelmann

Computers and Composition Online



The Institutional Review Board (IRB) is tasked by law to protect human and animal participants involved with research. At most universities, any research involving human participants must be approved by that institution’s IRB. Because research comes in many forms, misunderstandings about methods and requirements often arise. In an effort to address previous misunderstandings, this article uses narratives and the authors’ research experiences to discuss how rhetoric and composition (RC) research is viewed by the IRB and how RC researchers talk about their research. We discovered a number of specific strategies, including collaborating with an IRB staff member or mentor, writing concise documents, and accounting for risk, that aim to make the IRB application process easier for everyone involved.

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