Introduction to the Issues


The IRB system, and the accompanying regulatory framework, were designed primarily with biomedical research as the model. Yet IRB review also applies to social science. There is a sense in the social science world that this the framework (as currently applied) does not necessarily achieve the goal of protecting human subjects. Moreover, many believe that the system impedes important work.

In this section, we begin with four pieces that describe this apparent mismatch, and outline some of the national efforts at improvement. We then provide some resources that speak to difficult issues that are particularly relevant to those working in policy and management research.

We close with some resources that deal specifically with class assignments. These include some model university policies about the status of classroom work, as well as a published piece on the status of skill-building courses in schools of policy and management, vis-a-vis the IRB system.