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Mock IRB Application-Part 1

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Psychological experiments that are conducted on human or animal subjects must go through a review by an administrative body known as an Institutional Review Board (IRB).  Approval must be gained by an IRB before a study can be funded or conducted.  Researchers, whether they are faculty, students, or other affiliated personnel, must complete a detailed application that is presented to the IRB for its review.

APUS has an IRB, much like that of any research-producing university or institution.  Attached you will find an amended version of the actual application that researchers must submit to the IRB in advance of conducting psychological research. ***This is a mock version of the application.  You are not actually submitting anything to the real APUS IRB while conducting this exercise.

For this exercise, you will choose one of the psychological experiments listed at the bottom of these instructions.  These are experiments that have already been conducted and published.  Several are “classic” experiments in social psychology of which you should already be aware.  You will read the published article carefully and then you will take the knowledge gleaned from the article to complete the IRB application AS IF you were the Principal Investigator applying for approval to conduct the study.

For some of the questions included on the application, you may need to “stretch” your knowledge a bit.  For example, the published article may say that college students were given extra credit for participation, but may not go into a lot of detail regarding the process used to recruit those students.  In such a situation, you may need to use your imagination to fill in some blanks.

In addition, please remember that the goal here is to put yourself in the principal investigator’s shoes at the time that he/she conducted the experiment.  If the experiment was conducted in the 1970s, for example, remember that the standards for human experimentation were different back then.  Answer the questions as the investigator WOULD have answered them (based upon what you read about the experiment), not as they SHOULD have answered them based upon today’s ethical standards.


Please choose ONE of the following experiments to read:

1.  The Milgram Obedience Study:  Found on pp. 27-40 in Readings About The Social Animal, 11th Edition.

2.  The Stanford Prison Experiment:  Original article available at the following: http://www.zimbardo.com/downloads/1973%20A%20Study%20of%20Prisoners%20and%20Guards,%20Naval%20Research%20Reviews.pdf

3.  Deindividuation and Anger-Mediated Interracial Aggression:  Unmasking Regressive Racism:  Found on pp. 341-356 in Readings About The Social Animal, 11thEdition.

4.  Arbitrary Social Norms Influence Sex Differences in Romantic Selectivity:  Found on pp. 568-579 in Readings About The Social Animal, 11th Edition.

Assignment Instructions (Please complete both #1 and #2 below)

1.         After carefully reading your article, please complete the attached document.  You will complete the second half of the Mock IRB Application in Part 2 of this assignment in a later week in the semester.  The attached document is editable, so please place your responses directly into the document.  Be sure to save the document on your hard drive and then upload it into the slot for the assignment.

2.         After completing the Mock IRB Assignment-Part 1, please answer the following questions in a 3-page Word Document (.docx format) and upload as an attachment to the slot for the assignment.

a.         What was the most challenging section of the Mock IRB Application-Part 1 to complete?  Why was it challenging?

b.         Were there any sections of the Mock IRB Application-Part 1 that you felt the authors of your article did not adequately address (either in terms of not doing it or not addressing it in their write-up of their Method/Procedure)?

c.          If you were actually the Principal Investigator of this study, what might you do differently in order to adequately address all the questions asked on Part 1 of this Mock IRB Application?

d.         How do you think ethical standards have changed (if at all) since the Principal Investigator of your chosen study filled out his/her own IRB Application?

  • MOCK IRB Application


    Instructions: Type your information in the shaded boxes and insert an “X” in the applicable checkboxes. Incomplete forms will delay the IRB review process and may be returned.


    SECTION A: Investigators & Research Team


    A1. Principal Investigator (P.I.):


    Name:   Degree(s):  
    Title/Position:   Program:  
    Contact Numbers:   Physical Address:  
    MyCampus Email:  



    SECTION B: Research Information


    B1: Title





    B2: Introduction

    Please provide a brief (350-500 word) summary of your research project, including background and rationale for your study. Be sure to include in your description what kinds of data you are planning to collect as part of your research (e.g., surveys, interviews, observations, etc.).






    SECTION C: Review Type


    C1. Does the study involve greater than minimal risk? (Minimal risk means that the probability and magnitude of harm or discomfort anticipated in the research are not greater in and of themselves than those ordinarily encountered in daily life or during the performance of routine physical or psychological examinations or tests. More than minimal risk will require Full Committee Review.)


    Place an “X” next to the appropriate response.


            [__] Low/Minimal Risk            [__] Greater Than Minimal Risk



    [__] a. Exempt


    [__] b. Expedited


    [__] c. Full Board Review



    SECTION D: Project Purpose/ Research Question/ Objectives
    In non-technical language, address the following:

    1)       Topic and scope of the study.

    2)       Research questions or hypothesis.

    3)       How this study will contribute to knowledge in the field.








    SECTION E: Participant Population and Recruitment
    E1. In non-technical language, address the following:

    1)       Who will the participants be? How many participants? What ages will the participants be?

    2)       What is the inclusion/exclusion criteria for participants?

    3)       Where and how participants will be recruited?








    E2. This study will involve participants with the following characteristics (place an “X” next to all that apply): 

    [__] a.    Not Applicable (e.g., de-identified datasets)




    [__] Individuals who cannot read/speak English

    [__] Individuals living outside of the United States

    [__] Students of PI or Research Team Members

    [__] Students to be recruited in their educational setting (i.e. in class or at school)

    [__] Staff, Faculty, or Students

    [__] Minors/Children

    [__] Prisoners

    [__] Individuals with diagnosable psychological disorders

    [__] Individuals who are institutionalized

    [__] Individuals who are poor/uninsured

    [__] Pregnant women

    [__] Fetuses

    [__] Nursing home residents recruited in the nursing home

    [__] Individuals who are cognitively impaired

    [__] Individuals who are psychiatrically impaired

    [__] Limited or non-readers

    [__] Wards of the state (e.g., foster children)

    [__] Individuals who are terminally ill

    [__] Others vulnerable to coercion (Specify below):


     [__] Other (Specify below):



    SECTION F: Research Design
    In non-technical language, address the following:

    1)       State the study activities in chronological order. Describe both the activities conducted by members of the research team and the activities of research participants. (e.g., screening, survey, taking a test, answering questions in an interview, completing a specific task, tasks on a computer, running on a treadmill, debriefing, etc.) If videotaping, photographs, or audio-taping will take place, explain how and why recording will occur.

    2)       Explain how the data will be analyzed or studied; that is, indicate the quantitative or qualitative data analysis methods you will use.

    3)       Explain how the data will be reported in order to maintain the confidentiality or anonymity of participants (i.e. aggregated, anonymously, names used with consent, participants only identified by professional role, etc.).











    SECTION G: Data Collection


    This study involves the following types of data collection (place an “X” next to all that apply


    [__] Email Questionnaire(s)

    [__] In-person Interview(s)

    [__] Phone Interview(s)

    [__] Video Interview(s) (e.g. Skype, FaceTime, etc.)

    [__] Paper Survey(s)

    [__] Online Survey(s) (e.g. Survey Monkey, Kwik Surveys, etc.)



    [__] Photography

    [__] Existing datasets

    [__] Focus Groups

     [__] Internet research, (e.g. collecting data via the internet or researching individuals’ behavior on the internet)

    [__] Observations

    [__] Questions that might result in identifying criminal activities

    [__] Questions that might result in identifying child or elder abuse

    [__] Review of academic records

    [__] Review of medical records

    [__] Exposure to psychological stress

    [__] Use of physiological sensors (e.g. heart rate, skin conductance, BP)

    [__] Physical exercise

    [__] Collection of blood or biological specimens

    [__] Genetic Material

    [__] Diagnostic imaging (e.g., MRI, fMRI, X-Rays, etc.)


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