Saturday, June 18, 2011

Interview Questions & Consent Forms

Although I won't be conducting my interviews for at least another 15 months, I need to have my interview questions and informed consent forms written soon. These documents are required by the Institutional Review Board, and Fulbright requires that IRB approval for its application. Fulbright's deadline is September 21 and IRB can take a couple months to approve of a study. I would like to have this done before I leave for an overseas summer job in couple of weeks.

I started writing my interview questions about a month ago. My only experience writing research interview questions comes from the Fall 2010 semester when it was required for my qualitative research course. I actually enjoy writing these questions, so I don't find it to be a painful process.

When I first drafted the questions, I wrote them in list form to see how I could organize them for a second draft. After getting very helpful feedback from a professor, I found out that the interview protocol must be written in with the interview for the sake of transparency for IRB. So I revised the questions in a more conversational manner. I kept most questions, eliminated some redundant ones, and combined a few of them.

This process also helped me to better organize the length of the interviews. I never planned on interview each participant once, but I didn't know how many I wanted to do. After revising my questions, I found that 3 meetings for interviewing each participant would be sufficient.

If I need to interview participants, I need to get the informed consent. Each IRB explicitly states what must be included in these consent forms. I just started drafting a template for the consent forms, and they're about 5 pages in length. That's a lot of careful reading on the participants' part.

Drafting a consent form also helped me find the gray areas in my research plan in terms of ethics. I hope to stop by the IRB office next week to shed some light on these gray areas. Once that happens, I will have another professor look over my questions and maybe my consent forms. After that and a subsequent revision, I plan to formally apply for IRB...pending an agreement by my potential affiliate.

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