Took the Human Subjects Research Test tonight, and passed it with 100%. I’d have been rather ashamed of myself if I hadn’t, seeing as how it’s a self-administered online test where you can have the tutorial open in another browser tab and check your answers as you go. But in a weird way that makes sense — the point is that you correctly ID how the procedures for Human Subjects approval go, and those aren’t the kinds of things you necessarily need to have memorized. You need to know how to look them up.
If you’re not familiar with it, this whole shebang has to do with the institutions now set up to monitor any federally-funded research (including any research conducted by members of federally-funded universities) that concerns living, breathing human beings. Think of things like the Tuskegee syphilis study, for an egregious example of the kinds of abuses it’s intended to prevent. The procedures get a little bit crazy (frex, you have to submit for approval any questionnaire you intend to use, and if you later decide to drop some questions from it, you have to get that approved, too — let alone adding some), but oh well. It’s the price of doing business in my field.
So I passed the test; now I get to whip up an application for research approval, to be submitted on Monday, reviewed by the comittee on Wednesday, and returned by (probably) Friday. The goal is to jump that hurdle in one go, but it may not happen, as the comittee often has some quibble they want you to amend before they sign off on it. But once I get approved, then I can begin my first actual, official, real-live-anthropologist research.