Institutional Review Boards

Possible methods to minimize risk of studies involving students are not to study proprietary information, and not to discuss information that may be harmful to the institution or student life.  The research study can include a proposal for the institutional review Board (IRB) (Creswell, 2014). In order to have access to sites and individuals it is necessary to have permission from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) (Creswell, 2013).   Nichols (2016) describes the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and its role in the consideration for human subjects.  The three categories for the institutional review board include expedited, exempt, and convened.  The Institutional Review Board reviews the research study for any possible harm it can cause the participants in the research (Creswell, 2014).  

The Institutional Review Board reviews the research study for any possible harm it can cause the participants in the research (Creswell, 2014).  The Institutional Review Board will receive a proposal of the research study.   A qualitative study may need to carry the same procedures and languages of a quantitative study in order to provide a clear picture of to the IRB of the research parameters (Creswell, 2013).  Studies of high risk or sensitive participants may require a more lengthy review.

Participants will review and sign a consent form prior to the qualitative study (Creswell, 2013).  The consent form will include the rights of the participant, the purpose of the study, the data collection procedures, the protection of confidentiality, the known risks of the study, the expected benefits, and the participant signature (Creswell, 2013).  

An observational protocol provides the guidelines for the researcher as they make observations (Creswell, 2014). There are different extremes for participant observation from short visits to sharing the everyday life of the participant (Eriksson & Kovalainen, 2015). Data collection activities can include observations, interviews, and site artifacts. For making comparisons in a multi-sited ethnography, researchers can collect data from more than one location in order to make comparisons among cultures. Field notes record the activities and behavior of the participants at the research site (Creswell, 2014). The researcher can record field notes by observation as an observer, participant, combination of the two, participant-outsider, or participant-insider (Creswell, 2014).

With ethnographic research, it is important gain different perspectives from a variety of sources. Ways of collecting data can include audio-visual materials . Field notes assist in capturing the information collected. It is important to represent participants in their own words to represent their view of their experiences (Eriksson & Kovalainen, 2015).


Creswell, J. W. (2014). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches, fourth edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Creswell, J. W. (2013). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. Sage.

Eriksson, P., & Kovalainen, A. (2015). Qualitative Methods in Business Research: A Practical Guide to Social Research. Sage.