LACUNY Scholarly Communications Roundtable

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Student Research with Human Subjects

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    Nancy Foasberg

    Hi everyone!

    An interesting question has come up at my campus, and I’m hoping to get some advice from other CUNY people.

    I’m trying to build some partnerships to get more student work into the QC instance of the repository, and so far it’s been challenging! One of the departments this has come up in is the Library Studies program.  Their capstone class is only one semester long, and has the goal that students will produce work of a publishable quality, which makes it seem like a really good fit for content I’d like to recruit for the repository if I can. The roadblock here is … well, I don’t want to say that IRB is a roadblock, but the timing is problematic, since it takes until week 6 of the semester or so for students to develop their projects, and they can’t collect data until they have approval, which puts them on a very short schedule if they seek approval, especially if their proposals come back to them with suggestions or questions.

    The solution they’ve been using so far is to describe their work as non-generalizable, thus not “really” research — but this means they lose their right to share their work, which is obviously bad for the repository but also seems generally undesirable. Our IRB officer suggested that they try submitting their research as an umbrella project to save time, but it seems that their work is too varied for this to really work.

    Anyway, to make a long story short (too late!), I’d really like to know if there are any other CUNY graduate programs doing human subject research in a one-semester capstone course. Please let me know if you’re aware of any!




    Hi, Nancy,

    Thanks for bringing this important question to this list! I suspect there is a lot of overlap, you might also try the list for Academic Works Coordinators at 🙂

    As you know, once a student’s work is made public, it changes the nature of that work and classifies as “published” for the purposes of the IRB. For me, this is an important educational moment, one that provides an opportunity for the further professionalization of the culminating work. I have some thoughts for how this issue might be embedded into the workflow, and am happy to discuss further off-list!



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