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In a pinch!

Posted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 5:15 pm
by butlerm
Ok, so I've decided on my topic, I've finished my research paper and put all my work in so far. Now I'm finally making my way to the actual experiment portion of the science fair, when I get this huge slap in the face. Due to the fact that I am performing an experiment based on psychology, I need the human consent form. My question is: What are the effects of family life on a student's decision to pursue a college education? My teacher says I'll need at least a hundred people to do this project. My teacher also wants my class to have the first of our data journals in by the sixth of January. I don't know what to do at this point, we've already passed "the point of no return" as my teacher called it, so I can't switch my experiment now. Is there anyone who can help me find a way to:
A) Find a sponsor who is qualified in helping me conduct this experiment.
B) Tell me how long it will take for the IRB to approve my experiment.
C) Give me an idea of how I can conduct this experiment while still getting all the human consent forms signed.
D) Tell me whether or not every single person who does the experiment needs to sign the form (though I'm guessing this is a yes).

Thanks guys for reading and thank you even more for helping me thus far. Please take care.

Re: In a pinch!

Posted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 11:45 pm
by barretttomlinson

Congratulations on finding an excellent question to study. Have you examined the Science Buddies Science Fair Project Guide pages relating to the requirements and regulations for your study? If not, here is a link: ... ects.shtml

How do you find a qualified mentor? I would start by considering your local school staff/faculty. Is there a guidance counselor, a college application advisor, or a psychology teacher who might help? Failing that try a local college dean of admissions or professor of psychology, or the same positions at the college you are thinking of attending. All these folks might have a real interest in knowing the results of your study if you do a good competent job of it.

As far as questions about your local IRB go, your teacher should be able to help you find the answers.

If possible find your qualified mentor first. They, or your teacher, should be able to advise you (if they are a good mentor) on how you might conduct the experiment while complying with the rules.

You can study the links above to see the ISEF rules. I believe that you must have an appropriate informed consent form completed before collecting any data from any participant, and it may be required to get the informed consent from the parent or guardian as well if your subjects are minors.

I think your topic is an excellent one, likely to be of great interest to a great many people if it is done well. If it turns out well you might even consider trying to get it published. I wish you every success with it.

Best regards,

Barrett Tomlinson