Quite an interesting piece in the January 19 issue of Inside Higher Ed: “Reviewing the Reviewers,” which is an article mostly about a blog called “Institutional Review Blog” started by a George Mason University historian named Zachary M. Schrag. There are a variety of interesting issues that strike me here.
- This blog that Schrag has set up is actually pretty interesting for a whole bunch of different reasons (though, I will admit, they are all pretty academic reasons). And Schrag is clearly not some crackpot, either.
- When I was in my Ph.D. program, I took a course that was specifically about research methodologies like this that involve subjects. As far as I can tell, I was the only one of the students in that class who a) went through the official channels at BGSU for getting my study approved, and b) did something vaguely quantitative. Interestingly enough, that’s the only Ph.D. -level course I took where I got a B.
- In part because of problems with this sort of review, I quite purposefully decided to do a project that did not involve people because I didn’t want to deal with the paperwork. Things worked out for me fine, though it does make one wonder….
- In my experience, this sort of review (which at EMU is referred to as “Human Subjects Review”) varies tremendously from institution to institution, and even within the institution. At EMU, I think the process is relatively painless, I suppose because we aren’t a “Research I” with a medical school or something like that. Of course, I’ve only put myself through this review process once or twice.
- Speaking of which: one of my many “to do” list items is putting together the paperwork for review of my blogs as writerly spaces project….