When Imagining "What If" is Problematic: Complexities of IRB Teacher Research Approval

By Michelle Ann Bakerson, Marsha L. Heck and Gwendolyn Mettetal.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Educational Studies

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“I.R.B.,” three diminutive letters that readily conjure up frustration at best, anxiety at worst, for graduate students who are teacher practitioners, conducting action research for course credit, conference presentations, or academic assignments. This article explores the complexities among Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval, ethical PK – 12 classroom educational practice, and scholarly research – specifically the tensions inherent in getting MS. Ed. thesis projects approved by the campus IRB committee. Several cases illustrate how problematic these conflicts can be for practicing teachers seeking an advanced degree. In particular, the line the IRB committee draws when defining normal educational practice versus research becomes an often arbitrary or even capricious boundary that delays both degree completion and impedes the classroom action research needed to improve PK – 12 education.

Keywords: IRB, Educational Research, Teacher Research, Exempt Review, Expedited Review

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Educational Studies, Volume 10, Issue 1, March 2015, pp.1-12. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 534.752KB).

Michelle Ann Bakerson

Associate Professor of Educational Research, School of Education, Indiana University South Bend, South Bend, Indiana, USA

Marsha L. Heck

Associate Professor, Secondary and Foundations of Education, Indiana University South Bend, South Bend, Indiana, USA

Gwendolyn Mettetal

Indiana University South Bend, South Bend, Indiana, USA