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The most important way for RC researchers to work with the IRB is to take a rhetorical approach to writing and submitting IRB documents; in other words, we as researchers need to know our audience and their needs and expectations. Once we are familiar with our audience, i.e., the IRB, we can work more smoothly with them and create better documents, which can in turn produce ethical research. Therefore, we urge you to become familiar with your own IRB and their requirements and find a good PI who can assist in negotiating the process.
Additionally, taking a course in empirical research methods can help prepare you for working with an IRB because, in such a course, you will learn terminology and read articles that you can use and cite in your approval forms. If no course is available in your department, you may take a similar course in another department, such as communication, sociology, or psychology. Alternatively, the following, and by no means exhaustive, list of readings may provide further insight into research methods:
Haswell, Richard. “NCTE/CCCC’s Recent War on Scholarship.” Written Communication, 22.2 (April 2005), 198-223. Print.
Herndl, Carl G., and Cynthia A. Nahrwold (2000). “Research as Social Practice: A Case Study of Research on Technical and Professional Communication.” Written Communication, 17.2 (2000): 258-296. Print.
Lauer, Janice, and J. William Asher. Composition Research: Empirical Designs. New York: Oxford UP, 1988. Print.
Smagorinksy, Peter, ed. Research on Composition: Multiple Perspectives on Two Decades of Change. New York: Teachers College P, Columbia U, 2006. Print.
Sullivan, Patricia, and James E. Porter. Opening Spaces: Computer Technologies and Critical Research Practices. Greenwich, CT: Ablex at Computers and Composition, 1997. Print.
We hope that our suggestions here will serve you while working with your own institution.
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