Step 5 – Methods and Instruments

Part of the research process is following a methodology and creating means of gathering data (research instrument). This could be anything from a set of questions that will be used in an interview, to an online questionnaire that will be given to survey respondents, to experimental stimuli that will be shown to participants. Your research instrument can be something that you have created yourself or something that you have borrowed from another source.

Your application must include the research instrument you will use. The IRB understands that sometimes the precise questions or stimuli that are presented to participants could change as the project develops further; however, we must have a clear understanding of the nature of what participants are being asked or shown in your study. We cannot approve an application that does not include at least a rough draft of the research instrument you will use. (It is then your responsibility as the researcher to follow up with the IRB if your instrument changes significantly from what you indicated in your approved application. If you have a question about whether your change is “significant,” please consult with the IRB chair.)

Also, if you are using a printed method (e.g. posters that might be displayed on campus to recruit volunteers, an email, a newspaper/magazine advertisement, etc.) of recruiting research subjects, please create that and save it as a part of your research instrument document.

NOTE: The IRB recognizes that with interviews and oral histories, questions are added during the process and sometimes changed. You do not need to inform the IRB committee of these minor changes, if the premise of the project has not radically changed.

Step 6