IRB Horror Story

Breaking News

In recent months there have been several new IRB horror stories relating to oral history. For example, at one major research university a doctoral dissertation that had been approved by the Dean of the Graduate School, was withdrawn just weeks prior to the student’s anticipated graduation. In what appears to have been a communication problem between the student’s graduate advisor, the graduate school, and the university IRB, the doctoral candidate was ordered to take back his dissertation, strike all references to his oral history interviewees and destroy the tapes he made, even though he had secured signed releases from all his oral history interviewees. The student’s graduation and future – including a job offer (his position is conditioned on having the Ph.D. in hand prior to appointment) – at this writing remains in jeopardy.

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