The Institutional Review Board (IRB) is an administrative body that was established to protect the rights and welfare of human research subjects that were recruited to participate in research activities that were carried out under the auspices of the institution that it is affiliated with. The IRB was established in 1974.


The Institutional Review Board is tasked with the role of examining any and all research involving human subjects prior to its beginning, regardless of whether or not the research is sponsored. The wellbeing, rights, and privacy of human subjects are some of the things that the IRB is concerned with protecting. The IRB has the authority to approve, disapprove, monitor, and require modifications in any and all research activities that fall under its jurisdiction as specified by both the federal regulations and the institutional policy. This authority is granted to the IRB by both the federal regulations and the institutional policy. In order to conduct an exhaustive and exhaustive evaluation of human research and its institutional, legal, scientific, and social ramifications, the Institutional Review Board (IRB) must have at least five members who come from a variety of different disciplines.

There will also be at least one member of the Board who is not connected in any way with the organization, and there will also be at least one member who is not a scientist. The IRB makes use of a number of advisors, each of whom provides the Board with advice and participates in the protocol review process on occasion.


Readability of your study materials is an important consideration that should be made when you submit your request to the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for approval of the research you intend to conduct for your dissertation. In this context, the term “research materials” refers to anything such as letters, documents, forms, or instructions that your participants will see (e.g., informed consent forms and invitation letters). These materials need to be prepared in a way that allows your participants to read and comprehend the information being presented to them. Readability is crucial in all studies, but it is particularly relevant when researching children or other populations whose average reading ability is lower than that of the average adult participant in the study. You may be required to produce a readability report for your study materials in order to demonstrate that the reading level of the materials is appropriate for the participants in your study. This requirement can vary depending on the population of your study as well as the specific requirements of your IRB. In this blog post, we will illustrate how to get a readability report as well as how to make your contents easier to read.\


The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) lays the groundwork for the data protection regulations that must be met for research involving human subjects that generates, collects, uses, or discloses health data. This protection focuses primarily on personally identifiable health information, which can be information in any form that relates to an individual’s past, present, or future medical health condition or payments relating to healthcare services. In other words, this protection is concerned with information that can be traced back to an individual. When it comes to the enforcement of these procedures, one can put their trust in an IRB to evaluate whether or not the regulations have been complied with. In addition, study participants are strongly encouraged to seek out the organization’s authorities or the relevant federal or state agencies in order to make complaints or enquire about the protective measures being taken.

According to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the definition of research is a “systematic investigation” that contributes to “generalizable knowledge” and includes “creation, testing, and assessment of data.” It is essential to point out that certain investigative actions that involve patient data are not considered research according to this definition, as they fall outside of its scope. For instance, studies that are meant to be utilized for quality assessment or refinement of guidelines and protocols do not fall under the purview of this definition of research, nor do they qualify as research. In this scenario, a different set of HIPAA regulations would come into play.

In the event that the dataset can be classified as research, HIPAA stipulates that the subject must give their express authorisation (consent) before the data can be used in any way. The participant, on the other hand, has the right to withdraw consent at any time and must do so in writing if they choose to do so. This right applies to any and all forms of consent. Without the individual’s approval, HIPAA does on occasion permit access to their data for research purposes. This can occur when there is only a small risk associated in the research, when it is conducted simply for the purpose of research, when only information from people who have passed away is used, or when the research was grandfathered in from before the appropriate legal approvals were in place. In addition, if the data is fully de-identified, which means that all direct identifiers connected to the data have been erased, a researcher does not require the approval of individual data subjects to proceed with their research.

Researchers have the responsibility, in addition to adhering to the rule of privacy for person health information, of maintaining the confidentiality of individual health information. The disclosure of the appropriate security precautions that are in place to keep the data safe is required under this rule, which is known as the security rule. According to this rule, researchers are required to inform each subject about the security rule.


When evaluating a proposed plan for a piece of research, members of the IRB committee take a variety of rules into consideration. When conducting reviews, maintaining the participants’ privacy and confidentiality in a reasonable manner is a standard norm that must be followed. This means that researchers have an obligation to give the participant control over the type and amount of information (privacy) that they contribute, and they also have an obligation to secure the information that participants do submit to researchers (confidentiality).

There are numerous ways in which one’s right to privacy—that is, the ability to control the degree to which, when, and under what conditions they divulge information about themselves—can be violated. The use of a variety of research techniques, such as observational studies, focus groups, and snowball sampling, is one approach. Focus groups are unable to maintain privacy or confidentiality since participants may talk about what was discussed after the study has come to a close. On the other hand, observational studies represent a threat to privacy if private information is obtained without the subject’s knowledge or consent. Invasion of privacy can also occur if the participant feels the study questions are inappropriate or intrusive. It is possible that questions regarding sensitive subjects, such as substance misuse, medication, or sexual activity, will cause the participant to feel uneasy. For this reason, research projects that incorporate sensitive issue questions ought to include a warning in the consent form. Therefore, the privacy of a participant can be preserved by using the right steps to acquire data and reevaluating research questions for privacy concerns. However, there are always complexities to these notions, and the researcher needs to assess the reasonable assumption of privacy on a case-by-case basis for each study they do. This is due to the fact that information that is considered private in some contexts may not provide as much of a barrier to its disclosure in others; a good illustration of this would be information concerning one’s health or financial position.

On the other side, the term “confidentiality” refers to the handling of information that an individual has supplied with the expectation that it will not be disclosed to other individuals. It is possible to secure participants’ privacy in a number of straightforward ways, one of which is to de-identify the information participants provide or to assign numbers to participants so that their personal information cannot be linked back to them. In addition, the manner in which the data and information will be safeguarded have to be spelled out in a comprehensible written fashion within the consent form.


Many researchers have been forced to make adjustments in order to deal with the new obstacles that come along with the process of developing and conducting studies online as a result of the meteoric development in popularity of the internet over the past ten years. When utilizing a platform that is based online, it is significantly more challenging to handle concerns such as the protection of personally identifiable information or the verification of an individual’s adult status because there is no easy answer to these problems.

Internet can be used in two ways by researchers: first, as a tool to conduct research, often with very little or no interaction with the participant; second, as a medium to disseminate the findings of the research. This can be done through the use of questionnaires or by observing how individuals interact with one another online. Second, the internet can be utilized as a setting to conduct research on human behavior, for example by making use of the material that can be obtained on online communities and social media websites. This, however, might be challenging due to the fact that certain online communities make use of avatars, which are fictional characters that stand in for the actual community members. Acquiring knowledge from these avatars can lead to a false sense of reality due to the fact that it is generally accepted that these characters do not accurately mirror the real-world qualities of the participant.

Even while the internet can be a helpful tool, maintaining one’s privacy and secrecy while using the internet is becoming difficult. For instance, private information on the internet may be defined by the fact that the researcher would need to log onto a site in order to access it, whereas an account that can be accessed without logging in could be regarded as public information. On the other hand, other websites give users access to a subset of their information for a predetermined amount of time. In addition, individuals can have the mistaken impression that the information they share online is more confidential than it actually is. These complexities contribute to a more muddled understanding of what may and cannot be considered private on the internet.

Internet research brings up a number of challenges, one of which is maintaining users’ confidentiality. This is because of something that is known as re-identification, which is the concept that de-identified data can be linked to a specific person based on the information that was utilized in the study. This is the reason why this is the case. For instance, the Internet Protocol (IP) addresses of the participants might be tracked, or the data that is kept on the cloud might be hacked. In spite of the fact that some survey sites, like Qualtrics, provide respondents with the opportunity to acquire data without providing an IP address, adequate precautions must still be taken to protect the confidentiality and privacy of the data. Encrypting the data, storing it in a safe and secure location, and providing the participants with a description of the risks in a consent form are the protections that are included here.