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Creating a Culture of Compliance with Integrity: It Takes More Than Solid Policies and a Snazzy Submission System

(1) Problem Statement

IRB Offices can often have contentious relationships with researchers, and building a culture of compliance with integrity as well as a level of mutual trust and respect, can often be a very overwhelming task.

Solid policies and procedures and a user-friendly electronic submission system are now best practices for streamlining IRB operations. However, our ongoing goal is to find novel approaches to outreach and education, subsequently allowing us to build that mutual understanding of purpose and collaboration.

(2) Program Description

We have implemented multiple modalities. Some of the outreach examples below are novel while others are modified best practices.

  • Creating unique infographics to communicate our policies. Our office uses an infographic software to elevate lackluster emails with copious text into visually pleasing, eye-catching educational material. For example:
  • Offering your community IRB swag in a cost effective way. Our office creates magnets in-house that have become ubiquitous on filing cabinets. They simply state “I Support Research at University X.” They are extremely popular and several hundred have been distributed at events.
  • Attending students’ research events and making them feel appreciated. We set up a table and create a large poster congratulating students and their faculty mentors for obtaining IRB approval. Many of our student researchers are new researchers and that extra appreciation is well received.
  • Attending all New Faculty Orientations with a smile. This is where you capture the new faculty at a time when they are most willing to learn about how to best go about their research. Many new faculty contact us immediately after the event.
  • Offering workshops (N=19 for FY16) and guest lecturing as often as possible. Post workshop surveys show 92% of participants felt better prepared to submit to the IRB afterwards. When we guest lecture (N=18 for FY16) not only do our students learn about compliance but our faculty can be reminded of existing and new policies.
  • Offering online learning modules that can be integrated into a faculty member’s course. Nearly every discipline at our University offers a Research Methods course. We built recorded lectures, materials, and a quiz that can be imported into our Learning Management System.

(3) Future program usage

These program activities can be brought into effect at any IRB or HRP. There is no doubt that resources are slim here and elsewhere; however we know these approaches have built rapport and reputation over the last few years.

Published Citation

Berger HF, Pereny S, Krenzer A, Biascochea M. Creating a Culture of Compliance with Integrity: It Takes More Than Solid Policies and a Snazzy Submission System. Poster at Advancing Ethical Research Conference, November 2016.