Human Subjects Protocol must include a description of the information provided below. Submission of a research summary or pages of one's proposal and a consent form alone are not sufficient.
Please fill out the proposal information sheet provided with this document and use it as your cover sheet for submission to the committee. The faculty advisor must sign student proposals. Please be sure that all written information is legible (especially name and contact information).
The purpose of the scholarly background section is to provide evidence to the committee that your project is worthy and makes a contribution to your field. Be sure to include reference citations and a bibliography. Remember that it is unlikely that the committee members who review your protocol are familiar with your area of interest, so this section must be sufficiently complete to establish the importance of your project. It is not sufficient to prepare a few paragraphs stating your ideas are important as evidenced by a list of references.
Specify the benefits of this research to the subjects, and to scientific and human knowledge. The researcher must not assume that actual participation in your project is indeed a benefit, nor is providing a format or context for discussing or engaging in dialogue regarding certain issues necessarily a benefit (unless your project is a form of psychotherapy intervention). The researcher must also take care here not to assume that he or she will be providing feedback about his or her own experience as a benefit to the participant (unless this is specifically a form of your intervention study and design).
Specify exactly who the participants in this research will be and approximately how many participants will be included in your project. Be sure to include information about age, sex, and physical, psychological, experiential, social, or any other demographic characteristics that are being used to determine who will be considered a potential participant in this research.
Describe the procedures for recruitment and the data collection settings and measures/methods that will be used with the participants in this study. Be sure to specify what, if any, data will be video or audiotaped. Copies of all measures, including interview protocols, must be submitted in an appendix. Procedures also include the steps you will take to contact agencies or authorities that need to be informed or approve your project beyond the Mills community. Be sure also to include, where applicable, (1) the statement, advertisement, or recruitment flyer that will be used to recruit participants and (2) copies of letters you will use to introduce your project to other institutions (e.g., letters to school principals, childcare agencies, jail administrators, battered women’s shelters, etc.). If you are contacting participants through other institutions (e.g., schools, shelters, jails), the names of these institutions should be specified in this section of your proposal.
Identify and discuss all the potential risks and discomforts to participants in data collection procedures identified above. This discussion should be thorough and careful. The researcher should not assume that there are no potential risks or discomforts to participants, even if the project appears to the researcher to be benign or potentially beneficial to participants. It is particularly important to discuss 1) issues of confidentiality and 2) special characteristics of the population being studied.
Describe thoroughly the steps the researcher will take to minimize the potential risks and discomforts to the participants identified above. Be sure also to describe how written, video, and audio data will be securely stored and exactly who will have access to data that have not been made confidential (e.g., by eliminating personal identifying information). For example, if you are using audio to record your interviews with participants, you should specify clearly how you will securely store that data, e.g., after each interview all data will be transferred to a password protected computer and immediately deleted from the recording device after the completion of the transfer.
Provide the committee with a copy of the consent form to be used with this research. See a sample consent form (PDF). Be sure the consent form includes:
Researchers must provide a copy of the consent form to the participant and keep a copy for one's own records.