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Institutional Review Board (IRB): Research on Sensitive or Triggering Topics

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Research on Sensitive or Triggering Topics

If you are doing human subjects research on sensitive or triggering topics (such as childhood abuse, sexual harassment, suicide, etc.), you will need to do the following in your IRB application:

  • Appropriately acknowledge and describe the risks to participants in your consent material.
  • Create a risk mitigation plan for how you will help participants who become triggered or upset during your research activities. Please note that providing a list of organizations to call is not sufficient for protecting participants.
  • Provide a copy of training or certification you have received that has prepared you to talk to participants about your research topic and/or help triggered participants in your study.

A study on sensitive or triggering topics might be considered greater than minimal risk (GTMR) and might require review by the full board. Full board review may add weeks to your IRB approval process.