Protecting the human subjects of social science research--the role of institutional review boards
Bioethics Forum 16(4): 31-36
Current and proposed reforms of the regulatory schema for protecting human subjects of research have focused attention on Institutional Review Board (IRB) responsibilities. Consensus on the need for strengthening the oversight of these boards is all but certain--with the exception of research in the social and behavioral sciences, where an argument for less oversight is being made. The thesis in this article is that respecting the salient features of research in the social and behavioral sciences will ameliorate the tensions leading to this demand and offer better protection to the subjects of social and behavior studies.