The Impact of Human Subjects Review on the Quality of Social Science Research Methodology

David A. Kessler, Kent State University

Advocates for Human Subjects Review Boards have argued that Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) have improved the quality of research. This paper analyzes how IRB requirements can substantially reduce the quality of research by inhibiting the capacity for pretesting, biasing sample selection, undermining the validity and reliability of survey questions, requiring the exclusion of important control variables, and impeding data collection efforts to obtain sufficient response rate. Methodologically flaws imposed by requirements to comply with unreasonable Human Subject dictates may reduce the utility of conducting research projects. It also inhibits the teaching process.

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Updated 05/20/2006