The iProtocol guide includes specific guidance for each section of the protocol but here are some general tips to keep in mind as you develop your content.
- Make sure that you provide an accurate picture of your study to the IRB-SBS. The protocol questions are meant to encourage you to explain your study to the IRB-SBS and to provide them with the information that they need to do a complete review. If you leave out information, the IRB-SBS is unable to grant full approval until they have their questions satisfied.
- Make sure that you provide all of the documentation requested by the IRB-SBS (i.e. consent forms, instruments, advertisements); if you describe it in your protocol the IRB-SBS will want to see it. iProtocol is designed to prevent you from submitting your protocol until you provide a minimum level of responses but only you will know if the protocol is truly completed.
- Make sure that you fully describe your experience and expertise in your field of research so that the IRB-SBS can feel comfortable with your ability to successfully engage the targeted population for your study.
- In keeping with the first point, don’t say more than you need to. Remember that your reviewer is often a busy professional who won’t be able to wade through pages and pages of theories.
- Make every response to the point, providing succinct answers loaded with information.
- Be careful not to repeat yourself continuously. Some of the questions ask for aspects of the study from different perspectives, so some repetition will be necessary. However, if you find that you are saying the same thing over and over again, review some of the questions and see if there is information that you could include that hasn’t already been stated.
- Submitting a well-organized protocol will not only make review easier for your reviewer, it will help them to understand what you are proposing to do.
- Make sure that your writing is error-free, particularly in your consent documents.
- Don’t overburden your reader with technical jargon. Although your reviewer will be an expert, not every Board member who will read your protocol will have experience in your niche of the field. If your protocol includes technical equipment, instruments, and/or technical jargon, make sure to provide definitions and explanations. If this information is in the consent form, make sure that it is clearly explained at a sixth grade reading level.