I don’t understand how people manage to really do research.  This is my first time submitting something to an IRB, and every new email makes me want to bash my head against a wall.

It’s not that they’re bad e-mails – but each one requires I do something, and I’ll admit that that’s incredibly stressful for no good reason at all.  (“Change the end date?  Remove the typo in paragraph 86?  Now rewrite the hypothesis?  What am I, some kind of machine?”)

So as part of my unjustified nervous breakdown, I googled the phrase ‘”the hypothesis”, IRB’ to find examples of good IRB hypotheses.  Instead, I found a song called “The Hypothesis” performed for a group called the “IRB”.

I listened to nearly the entire thing before realizing it wasn’t actually a joke – it was a very earnest folk song about a bad relationship, and IRB actually stood for “Indie Rocker’s Ball”.  I’m not saying it wasn’t good, but what a disappointment.

… Now I really want to write a song about IRB proposals called “The Hypothesis”.  In fact, I’m much more motivated to do that then to actually, y’know, fix my hypothesis.  (Oh man, I would totally write a song for each section, creating “IRB Proposal 95806: The Musical!”  And then perform it as a one-woman show!)

And this entry is how I know I don’t belong within 10 miles of anything that could be called “research”.

4 thoughts on “Ack.

  1. AP — I used to feel as you did about IRB submissions. Then I realized that you can basically submit a completed protocol (which should already be written — you already have one, right?) and human subjects protections with your brain turned off. They will TELL YOU if you make a mistake or need to fix something, which is truly a beautiful thing. You can also submit and resubmit as many times as is necessary until you get it right. In the end, if they are any good at their jobs at all, you will have a better research proposal when you’re done. Honestly, it’s win win.

    • That’s good to hear. Unfortunately, I have to go through some pre-IRB reviews by a couple key people because I need their support to get it barreled through in time to start my project this summer. And then there’s definitely no time to resubmit.. (… yep. I know. My timing = awesome. But my funding source didn’t come through until really recently.)

  2. Well, hopefully their turnaround is fast. That should help a lot. At my old institution, where the IRB convened once per month, every iteration took that much time or longer to get fixed. Then it was truly the painful experience you describe.

    Good luck!

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