Conference Gem: Ethical Considerations Workshop

By Bernie Miller

At the beginning of the workshop, “Dissemination of Your Work: Ethical Considerations,” one of the presenters said something about this being a scholarship event and that some in the room may want to use this as credit. At that moment, I wanted to escape, thinking that this was all going to be dry and over my head.

Surprisingly however, it was anything but that. All three presenters, Karen Szauter, Rachel Yudkowsky, and Tonya Thompson were vibrant and enthusiastic in their delivery, and they each exhibited a wonderful non-judgmental attitude about the knowledge of the audience throughout, making it a more than pleasant experience for all.

A lively and stimulating discussion ensued and continued in between the presentation of four scenarios where participants had to decide in groups whether the projects described met criteria for “research” or not. Intermixed between those four breakout discussions, much enlightening guidance was given by the presenters as participants thought out-loud regarding the fine points of definitions and parameters of IRB approval.

General knowledge regarding IRB review was covered in full detail including what kind of IRB might be required based on the type of research submitted. The presenters shared personal experience regarding the variability of IRB requirements from institution to institution and encouraged all participants to get to know his or her institution’s IRB parameters.  In the end, I gained a better understanding, and appreciation, for what is involved in doing scholarly research. This workshop provided me with a new found sense of confidence enabling me to feel not so intimidated when the subject comes up again.

As I left the workshop I said out loud to a peer, “This is a workshop that I never knew I needed until now”. In future years of ASPE conferences, this is definitely a workshop to put on your “must attend” list.

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