A few tips to keep in mind:
- Always read the College's IRB procedures as you are creating the research project and complete an IRB application and informed consent form for the IRB chair.
- If your subjects are also students in your class, make sure anyone who wants to may decline to participate in the research. Participation must be voluntary; thus, you may never make participation a condition of completing a course. Your informed consent form should include language indicating that a student's choice not to participate will not adversely affect his or her relation with Stonehill College or with the professor.
- Student papers or assignments that are assessed for research purposes should not be analyzed until after grades have been posted (if at all possible), and should have identification removed before they are processed. You might even choose to have a colleague collect consent forms so that you cannot access them until after grades have been submitted.
- Be sure you have in place confidentiality procedures to remove all identifiers from student surveys or questionnaires, or other collected evidence, as much as possible.
- You may choose to request consent later in the semester, once students have a clearer understanding of what aspects of their work you'll be using. It is possible to gain consent to use student work after the semester is over but it is more difficult to arrange.