Rhetorical Strategies for Working with Institutional Review Boards

Elizabeth L. Angeli and Z. Koppelmann

Computers and Composition Online



Most institutions have some type of statement articulating the institution’s approach to scholarship. For example, Purdue University’s College of Liberal Arts states that it is committed “to research, scholarship, and creative endeavors that are ‘grounded in the most advanced methods’ and ‘that advance the frontiers of knowledge, enhance learning, and address societal challenges’ (Purdue University Strategic Plan: 2008-2014)” (“Research Support within the College of Liberal Arts”).

In addition to institutional statements, professional organizations recognize the need for producing ethical and sound research. The Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) Guidelines for the Ethical Conduct of Research in Composition Studies states that researchers “share a commitment to protecting the rights, privacy, dignity, and well-being of the persons involved in their studies.” They insist that if research is “subject to review by an . . . IRB,” the researcher must comply with the specific IRB’s guidelines. To meet this commitment and strive for ethical, sound research, researchers working with human subjects, a term used by most IRBs, are often required to apply for, and receive, their institution’s IRB approval before proceeding with the research.