14 March 2007

but on second thought

it turns out that if you express any, and i mean any, support for even the idea of an IRB, you will become involved in exciting conversations with friends near and far.

so far yesterday's blog has been twitted for stating the possibility of retraumatization as fact and for stating that the IRB's of my experience are pretty reasonable, about both of which charges i can only say: guilty.

on a little more thinking about it, i realized that i should have spent less time with the specific "do no harm" and coercion issues raised by conflict and post-conflict qualitative research (although there are many), and more time with the conflicts of interest raised when researchers have to self-police their interactions with subjects.

stipulating for the moment (and only for the moment) that retraumatization is a boondoggle and that IRB's are a mess, the question to return to is if not IRB oversight then oversight by whom? (like i said yesterday, i don't trust myself to self-police. i want to know the things that i want to know fairly desperately; otherwise i wouldn't be studying them.) at this point, i've heard a lot from people who believe social science IRB's should be done away with, and very little from people who have concrete proposals for more useful oversight.

in any case, interesting stuff...now back to our regularly scheduled program of blogging groceries and weather. and politics. right. politics.