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Department of English
PhD in Technical and Professional Discourse


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Research Ethics and the University and Medical Center Institutional Review Board (UMCIRB)

At most institutions, any research involving human subjects needs to be approved. To participate in research, researchers must meet initial educational requirements of their institutions review board. Institutional review board certification doesn't necessarily guarantee that researchers act ethically in everything they do. However, the process of reviewing research protocols ensures certain protections for human subjects.

Before you can participate in conducting research at ECU, you must complete UMCIRB certification, a self-paced independent study.

Read the material about the ECU Institutional Review Board (IRB)and the UMCIRB Policies & Procedures Manual. Familiarize yourself with the IRB process on campus and review the forms that are necessary for researchers to submit materials to the IRB for approval.

IRB Required Education

Complete the training modules  and take the quizzes to achieve the certification required to submit proposals to the IRB.

Print out your certificate and keep a copy.

Make sure to record the date that you completed your training modules because you’ll need the date of the completion of your training if you work on any research projects at ECU. Training must be renewed every three years.

At the end of your self-paced training, you should understand:

  • the role of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at the university
  • the IRB process in general and the ECU IRB process specifically.
  • the history and exigencies that have led to concern for ethics in research.
  • the role and treatment of participants in research.
  • the role and responsibilities of researchers to human (and other) subjects.
  • the types of conflicts that arise in research including in conducting research, managing data, and writing up research.
  • issues in research ethics

Resources about Research Ethics

The following resources will be useful as you complete classes in the English Department degree programs.

Selected Books

Ethics in Qualitative Research, Mauthner, Sage, ISBN: 0-7619-7309-5

Responsible Conduct of Research
, Shamoo & Resnick , Oxford UP, ISBN: 0-19-514846-0

Student's Guide to Research Ethics
, Oliver, Open UP, ISBN: 0-335-21087-2

Ethics in Research with Human Participants
, Sales & Folkman, American Psychological Association, ISBN: 1-55798-688-6

Tales Of The Field, Vanmaanen, U of Chicago P, ISBN: 0-226-84962-7

ECU Resources

Codes of Ethics Online

Ethics Research Centers

Additional Educational Materials

U.S. Government Resources

Interesting Articles and Cases

Resources for Technical and Professional Communication

This page contributed by Dr. Donna Kain.