How to Write a Big Event Proposal Sample

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					                           Guidelines for IRB Proposals
Sometimes, writing an IRB proposal for your research can seem like walking into a dark unfamiliar
room. You’re moving, but not sure if you’re going in the right direction. For many researchers, then,
the IRB process is often unfamiliar, and procedures and rules that guide approval of projects are
often unclear (or confusing). This handout is an attempt to shine a light into that dark room, to help
you complete the IRB proposal in a way that maximizes the likelihood that your proposal will be
favorably reviewed (i.e., approved). The other purpose of this handout is to explain how the IRB
committee reviews your proposal, and what certain feedback from us means (and how to correctly
and most expeditiously reply to our feedback, so as to facilitate subsequent approval of your revised

Types of Participant Samples

Most research proposal will entail data collection from standard samples, such as college students, or
adults in the community (e.g., at the mall). However, if you wish to do research that involves anyone
under 18 years of age, you need to also obtain the participant’s parent/guardian with a copy of the
informed consent, and have them give their permission to participate. If you wish to go to a school to
do research with children, there are a number of special considerations and additional materials you
need to include in your proposal. These are detailed in a separate handout (ask the department
secretary or your research supervisor/instructor for these guidelines).

Completing the Proposal

When completing your research proposal, try to adhere to these points:

   •   have your instructor/supervisor review your IRB proposal before you submit it, so that he/she
       can point out problems that may delay (or prevent) the approval of your study. Also, be sure
       he/she has signed (& dated) the top page of your IRB application
   •   check your proposal, and then check it again, to be sure that you’ve completed the entire
   •   be as detailed as possible in your IRB application
   •   make sure that your informed consent conforms to the general template we have provided in a
   •   separate Sample Informed Consent (available at the Psychology Department Main Office)
   •   you must include in your proposal ALL QUESTIONNAIRES, FORMS, ETC. that you will be
       giving to the participants

The wording of the Informed Consent

Because the Informed Consent has some legal implications, it is essential that you carefully write the
informed consent, wording it appropriately. See the Sample Informed Consent for a template when
doing this, but pay attention to these specific points:

   •   make sure you do NOT use the word “confidential” when describing the participant’s data or
       their responses. The data/responses are not confidential (that has a specific legal definition,
       which does not apply to most research). Instead, say something like “participant’s
       data/responses will be kept from inappropriate disclosure.”
   •   make sure that your informed consent states that the participant is agreeing to participate in
   •   be sure to describe, in a sentence or two, what participants will be asked to do in your
   •   you need to state the benefits and possible risks that to participants if they do your experiment.
   •   with respect to the possible risks of participation, do NOT say “there are no risks.” Instead, say
       something like: “although all foreseeable risks to participants have been minimized, some
       individuals may feel uncomfortable doing some or all aspects of this experiment (e.g., filling out
       questionnaires). In that event, they are free to discontinue participation, and will receive any
       compensation agreed upon prior to the experiment (e.g., extra credit). In the rare event that a
       participant feels upset by their participation, they will be referred to speak about their concerns
       to a counselor at the student counseling center.” [note: if participants will be obtained from off
       the CSUS campus, you need to modify the last sentence of that statement, to indicate where
       the participant will be referred – e.g., Stanislaus Behavioral Health Center, for non-students]

Review Cycle

The IRB meets from 10-11am every Friday during the semester. In order to have your proposal
reviewed for a given Friday, you need to turn in your proposal to the IRB Chair (Dr. Todd Nelson)
[place proposals that have been signed by your supervisor in Dr. Todd Nelson’s mailbox in the
Psychology Department] no later than the prior Monday. Proposals that are turned in later than that
time will be reviewed at the subsequent Friday meeting (i.e., 11 days later). When your proposal is
reviewed, we will give our feedback to your instructor by 5pm on that Friday.

Feedback from the IRB Committee

When your proposal is reviewed, we will give it one of these 4 types of feedback:

       Accepted – The proposal is extremely well-written, detailed, complete, and appropriately
       addresses all the points required in the IRB proposal.

       Accepted Pending Changes – The proposal is fine in nearly all respects, and there are only a
       few changes/revisions that need to be made in order for the proposal to be accepted. The IRB
       will tell you exactly what changes to make. [note: the great majority of the IRB proposals
       receive this initial rating. All IRB members sign approval except the Chair, who will sign the final
       approval when the appropriate revisions have been made]

       Revise & Resubmit – The proposal suffers from several problems, and needs substantial
       revisions before it can be accepted. These revisions will be listed for the IRB applicant.

       Reject – The proposal contains such methodological or procedural problems that, in the IRB’s
       Judgment cannot be resolved with revisions of the current proposal. In these rare instances, the
       IRB will recommend that the applicant select another method or issue to investigate.

Responding to the Feedback (revising your proposal)

When turning in your revisions to the IRB, be sure to turn them in by noon on Thursday, for the IRB to
review it on the following Monday. When turning in your revisions, be sure to include the following
[proposals that are missing any of the following will be returned unreviewed]:

   1. The complete old proposal (including our recommended changes page that we attached to
      your proposal)
   2. On top of the old proposal, place your new, revised proposal (note: do not include a new 3
      page application, just a new series of revised pages of the rest of your proposal)
   3. A note on the top, indicating that this is a revised version, and that you've addressed all the
      board's suggested revisions. If you do not agree with a particular suggested revision, and/or do
      not wish to address a particular suggested revision, you must explain in your        cover page
      your rationale for not doing the revision.

Contacting the Committee
When you get your proposal, you are welcome to clarify the feedback you receive from the IRB with
the IRB Chair. Stop by (or call: 667-3386) the Psychology Department office for information on how to
contact the IRB chair.

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