Friday, December 21, 2007

Psychology Research Holiday Humor :)

All of us who've struggled to get studies through the IRB will very much appreciate this :)

Dr. K Kringle
Adjunct Professor of Child Psychology
Far Northern University

Dear Dr. Kringle (Ph.D, M.D., D.O.? Please verify your credentials):

At the regularly scheduled December 24 meeting, the IRB reviewed your protocol, "A Global Observational Study of Behavior in Children" While we believe it has many good features, it could not be approved as submitted. If you choose to revise your study, please address the following IRB concerns:

1. You propose to study "children of all ages". Please provide an exact lower and upper age limit, as well as the precise number of subjects. Provide a statistically valid power calculation to justify this large of a study.

2. Your only inclusion criterion is "belief in Santa Clause." Please provide a copy of the screening questionnaire that determines such a belief. Provide a Waiver of Authorization under MPAA in order to record these beliefs prior to enrollment in your study. The Board recommends that you obtain a Certificate of Confidentiality as beliefs are sensitive and personal information.

3. You propose to "know when they are sleeping and know when they are awake". How will this be done? Will children undergo video monitoring in their beds? Will they have sleep EEGs? You list 100 elves as research assistants. Are any of them sleep physiologists? Please provide credentials of elves.

4. Your primary outcome measure is to "know when they've been bad or good." What standard is being used to determine "goodness'? Do children have to be good all year or just most of the time? Please specify required duration and provide the instrumentation, with appropriate consent forms, that will be used for operationally defining "goodness".

5. You propose to conduct your research by entering the subjects' homes through the chimney. Have you considered the liability potential, i.e., damage to the roof, carpeting, etc., that this will cause? Moreover, children are likely to be startled by your appearance late at night. Please revise your protocol to conduct your home visits between 9 am and 5 pm Monday through Friday with at least one parent being present and all risks and benefits carefully described.

6. You state that compensation for participation will be "sugarplums, candy, and toys" for the good little girls and boys. This may not be appropriate for the children with obesity, dental cavities, and hyperactivity. Also, your proposal to leave a lump of coal in the stockings of the bad children will be unfairly stigmatizing to them individually and as a group. In general, the Board suggests a small token of appreciation for all participants. Perhaps a $5 Toys-R-Us gift card would be more appropriate in order to avoid potential coercion.

7. The database of good and bad children will be kept "on a scroll at the North Pole." Please describe the location of the scroll and the security provisions you have in place to protect the data. Is the scroll kept in a locked cabinet in a locked room? Who has access to the scroll? Are there backup copies of the scroll and how often are they compared to the original?

8. You mention the participation of "eight tiny reindeer" in your protocol. Please provide the Board with documentation of Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee approval.

9. Please provide the Human Subjects Protection training dates for Mrs. Claus and the elves.

10. As this study involves prospective data collection and is more than minimal risk without prospect of direct benefit to the subjects, informed consent signed by all guardians will be required. Please have the consent form translated into every language spoken by children and ensure that assent forms are signed by all. Please submit 25 copies of your revised protocol to the IRB. The IRB will be on Holiday Season schedule for the next two weeks. If approved, you will be able to conduct your study sometime in the spring, if all items are appropriately addressed.


Sincerely,
E. Scrooge, MD

Chair, Institutional Review Board

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Ebenezer Scrooge:

Be advised that I shall not be responsible for any of the fictional literature about me, in particular Snorri Sturluson’s Eddas, Charles Dickens’es Christmas Carol, Washington Irving’s History of New York, Clement Clarke Moore’s Night before Christmas, or any other fictional prose about me written in the Second Millennium. I made a career move to dispense with the immense wealth that I inherited so that I could become a simple monk. I spent my fortune so that three young ladies could have dowries to marry and that I could have a life of peace. As no good deed goes unpunished, my deeds were advertised to the public to the very man whom I swore to secrecy and who fathered the girls. Not content with spreading the curse of fame upon me, Providence decided that He wanted to make a Bishop out of me. I have passed away over a Thousand years ago, and I’d like my Heavenly Rest.

Trouble me not with your meaningless paperwork. Mess with me and you’ll get my Anathema. Know also that I have made many influential friends up here who have titles beginning with the words “Patron Saint of”, and who would be willing to withhold blessings for you on my behalf should I give the word. Be aware that Monks don’t marry so there is no Mrs. Claus. I don’t hire elves or keep reindeer. Rudolf is the creation of the old Montgomery Wards Department Store Chain. If I lived at the North Pole, don’t you think that Commodore Peary, Matthew Henson, or Albert Cook would have said so? You even observe my Saint’s Day on the WRONG DAY!!! My Saint’s Day is December Sixth, not the Twenty-fifth. Be also aware that the Lawyers that took care of business when Mother Theresa was hassled are also at liberty to act in my behalf.

with Deepest Contempt,

St. Nicholas the Wonderworker
Bishop in abstentia of Myra

Feminist Gal said...

Is this the same Anonymous from yesterday? Don't you have anything better to do? Although i suppose i aprreciate your sense of "humor"? ;)

Smirking Cat said...

I saved the letter approving my graduate research project, because they are so formal that it's hilarious! Thanks for sharing this; it brings back memories!

Feminist Gal said...

smirking cat: what was your study on?