††††††††††† The most significant portion of my time during the Fall 2003 semester was spent gaining approval to conduct the study.† This process included a training program for working with human subjects, an approval process through the University of Arizona to conduct the research, an approval process through the school district, a proposal and interview with the principal of the school I worked with, and, finally, I had to gain permission from the teachers.† For those interested in conducting a similar study, I will detail the application process.
Since I was working with middle school students for my research, it was necessary to obtain approval from the University of Arizonaís Institutional Review Board.† To ensure the protection of all research subjects, the Vice President for Research to the Human Subjects Committee must approve all aspects of the research process.† Thus, there is significant paperwork and training to accomplish before an investigator can have any contact with the human subjects.† First, all investigators must complete the Human Subjects Training.† The university provides a training manual that gives detailed explanations of the methods and bureaucracy required to perform research with human subjects, policies and regulations, how to gain and maintain approval for your research, and other topics.† Upon completion of the manual, the investigator must pass the Human Subjects test with at least an 85%.† Once Human Subjects Training is completed, you move into the Project Approval process.
††††††††††† The next step is to obtain approval from the Institutional Review Board at the University of Arizona.† In the Project Approval process, the investigator must explicitly state every aspect of the proposed research.† This includes all methodology, potential interview questions, a description of all observations, and precise details such as the number of subjects and the rationale for their selection.† You must also include a copy of your proposed consent form for the parents and students and clearly state how consent is to be obtained and honored throughout the project.† In addition, I had to submit a recruitment script for presenting the project to the selected students.† The necessary paperwork is then sent through a preliminary critique, and the proposals are usually sent back repeatedly for corrections or additions.† Every detail is thoroughly scrutinized.† I was fortunate to only be required to do one extensive revision.† When your application is deemed as perfect as possible, it goes to committee for final approval.† I gained approval for my project from the Review Board on November 4.† To view the final application and detailed methodology, click here.
I also had to undergo an approval process through the school districtís Office of Accountability and Research before I could enter a classroom or approach the principal or teachers.† The district requires its own forms, but they are much less severe and detailed than the Universityís.† To view the approved school district application, click here.†
After receiving approval from the University and school district, Professor Horak and I met with the principal at the middle school where we hoped to conduct the research.† The principal was very supportive and offered suggestions that might aid us in the problem-solving sessions.† After obtaining the principalís permission, we approached the two teachers.† Each teacher has showed great interest in and support for our project, and they were extremely helpful and pleasant to work with for the problem-solving sessions.