Rhetorical Strategies for Working with Institutional Review Boards

Elizabeth L. Angeli and Z. Koppelmann

Computers and Composition Online



“Composition specialists share a commitment to protecting the rights, privacy, dignity, and well-being of the persons who are involved in their studies.”

–CCCC Guidelines for the Ethical Conduct of Research in Composition Studies

Writing research often involves working with a variety of groups, which include teachers, students, Institutional Review Boards (IRB), and administrators. An IRB, a research review board required by law to protecting human research participants, is perhaps the most misunderstood group because rhetoric and composition (RC) researchers may not be trained to work with IRBs. Likewise, some IRBs may not be familiar with RC research methods. In an effort to bridge previous misunderstandings, this article focuses on how RC researchers might collaborate with their institution’s IRB to produce IRB-approved research projects. We start with the theoretical background for IRB, move to IRB’s purpose, present research narratives, and end with strategies that highlight what we have gleaned.