It is not unusual for researchers to complain about institutional review board (IRB) oversight, but social scientists have a uniqe set of objections to the work of ethics committees. In an effort to better understand the problems associated with ethics review of social, behavioral, and economic sciences (SBES) research, this article examines 3 different aspects of research ethics committees: (a) the composition of review boards; (b) the guidelines used by these boards to review SBES - and in particular, behavioral health - research; and (c) the actual deliberations of IRBs. The article concludes with recommendations for changes in the review process and with suggestions for filling the gaps in knowledge about the way IRBs work.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported, in part, by Grant K01 AT00054 from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine of the National Institutes of Health. We thank Karen Howard for her assistance.
- Behavioral health research
- Informed consent
- Institutional review boards
- Research ethics