Sample Ethics Research Paper on IRBs in Different Settings

IRBs in Different Settings

A common type of research is that which investigators obtain information or data from human subjects through direct interaction, including surveys or in-person interviews. Essentially, such interactions must be done while protecting the rights as well as the welfare of the human subjects, and this is where the Institutional Review Board (IRB) comes into play. An IRB refers to a committee or group of people that monitors research involving human subjects to determine whether the research meets the human subjects’ rights or welfare (Ghooi, 2014). The two most common types of IRBs are the Local Institutional Review Boards and the Central Institutional Review Boards. Local IRBs are those that are linked or affiliated with the organization or institution tasked with conducting the research. Additionally, local IRBs are often located in or near the area of study. This type of IRBs may be affiliated with organizations such as hospitals or institutions of higher learning, including universities that seek to obtain data for their day-to-day activities or operations from human subjects (Bronte-Tinkew, Allen, & Joyner, 2008). Central IRBs are used in research where the focus is on several study sites or huge clinical trials. In most cases, central IRBs focus on research that cannot be done at the local community level because of the high level of expertise required. A type of research involved in central IRBs could be research about cancer or any other illness, and such study is often conducted at different places (Bronte-Tinkew, Allen, & Joyner, 2008). Large organizations, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), could find central IRBs essential when it comes to researching epidemics, including cancer, malaria, and others.

The two types of IRBs have both similarities and differences. A similarity between local and central IRBs is that both are involved in researching human subjects with the emphasis on protecting the rights and welfare of the human subjects. Also, both local and central IRBs are involved in four categories of research. The first is research that does not involve a greater than minimal risk. The second is that which and encompasses more than minimal risk but has a direct benefit to the human subjects. The third is the study that which has more than minimal risk with hardly any direct benefit to the subjects but produces generalizable knowledge about what is being studied. Lastly, is that which aids in understanding, preventing, or alleviating problems affecting the human subjects. The two are different in that local IRBs can be located either in or near the study site and can be associated to the institution responsible for the research being conducted. On the contrary, central IRBs are used in research where the focus is on several sites and research that cannot be done at the local community level because of the high level of expertise required (Bronte-Tinkew, Allen, & Joyner, 2008).

The importance of IRBs in every organization cannot be understated because a corporation’s failure to be affiliated with either a local or central IRB could leave it vulnerable to legal action (Bronte-Tinkew, Allen, & Joyner, 2008). Every organization, including those that conduct own evaluation, be affiliated to an IRB to ensure any activities involving research about human subjects must meet the rights and welfare of the subjects. Marketing firms that work with clients outside of their organization must also select an IRB that will conduct a thorough review and ensure that operations, activities, or research that the establishments conduct that involve human subjects have the required or necessary human subject protections.




Bronte-Tinkew, J., Allen, T., & Joyner, K. (2008). Institutional Review Boards (Irbs): What Are They, And Why Are They Important? Research-to-Results Brief). Washington DC: Child Trends. Retrieved from

Ghooi, R. B. (2014). Institutional review boards: Challenges and opportunities. Perspectives in clinical research5(2), 60. Retrieved from