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SOCNET  September 2007

SOCNET September 2007

Subject:

Re: IRB problems

From:

Sam Friedman <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Sam Friedman <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 14 Sep 2007 18:19:21 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (267 lines)

*****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****

Steve,
It is precisely to this issue that the "minimal risk" approach I
outlined applies.
best and good luck
sam

>>> Steven Corman <[log in to unmask]> 09/14/07 2:32 PM >>>
*****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****

Thanks everybody for the responses, and the pointer to the Social
Networks issue (which I'd forgotten about).  

In general, we're happy to provide whatever confidentiality and
anonymization is needed; in fact that's in the proposal.  But there are
a lot of good suggestions in your responses for making that stronger
that we will apply.  

What worries me, though, is their assertion that "if other people are
identified within the survey then they would qualify as subjects also
and would have to consent to data about them being used."  Even if
they're anonymized, they have been named so they would still be
subjects, under this formulation.  

This is the real thing to worry about, IMHO, and per Steve's suggestion
it would be great for INSNA to compile arguments against this position,
precedents where other IRBs have not concluded this, etc., to be used in
future disputes.  


-----Original Message-----
From: Social Networks Discussion Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
Behalf Of Borgatti, Steve
Sent: Friday, September 14, 2007 8:50 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [SOCNET] IRB problems

*****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****

Two notes on this:

1. I think it would helpful if INSNA would draft and post a set of
guidelines for handling human subjects in network research. Proposal
writers could then indicate that their studies are in compliance with
the standard, and this might make IRBs feel more comfortable with
network research. No, I am NOT volunteering.

2. In the meantime, there was a special issue of Social Networks (vol
27; 2005) put together by Ron Breiger that discusses some of these
issues. The ideas discussed in those issues might be useful in
convincing an IRB, and citing published work on the matter might have a
similar effect as item 1 above.

Steve.

Steve Borgatti
Chellgren Endowed Chair, Dept of Management
Gatton School of Business and Economics
University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY 40506 USA
Office Tel: +1 859-257-2257; Cell: +1 978 394 2787
Email:  [log in to unmask], [log in to unmask]



> -----Original Message-----
> From: Social Networks Discussion Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
On
> Behalf Of Scott E. Clair
> Sent: Friday, September 14, 2007 11:08 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [SOCNET] IRB problems
>
> *****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****
>
> First place I would recommend you look is in this article -
>
> Klovdahl, A. (2005).  Social network research and human subjects
> protection: Towards more effective infectious disease control.  Social
> Networks, 27, 119-137.
>
> From my own experience while every IRB will be a bit different - when
I
> specifically inquired at a statewide conference on IRB challenges
about
> the issue of using names in social network analysis the general
> principles for IRBs they laid out were ...
>
>  1) Do No Harm
>  2) Justice
>  3) Risks - minimal risk balanced against the benefits.
>  4) Respect - for participants
>
>  In the context of using names for social network studies they
> suggested
>
>  1) Create Codes for Unique Names AFTER ALL of the data are collected
-
> this allows for linking macronetworks over time.
>  2) Point out that the research would be impractical to do any other
> way.
>  For example, what if as a joke someone in your network lists George
W.
> Bush or for that matter just a family member that lives in another
>  state - clearly tracking down all of the alters is not a practical
> option.
>  3) Having a detailed Data Management Plan to minimize any potential
> breach of confidentiality.
>
>  Short version was as long as you can show a firm grasp of the
> potential issues and have outlined a plan to minimize the possible
> risks
> to the participants that was sufficient (again at least for this IRB).
>
>  Hope this helps.
>  -scott
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Social Networks Discussion Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
On
> Behalf Of Tom Valente
> Sent: Thursday, September 13, 2007 10:49 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: IRB problems
>
> *****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****
>
> Steve:
>
> One thing I told my IRB early on in response to this issue was that we
> often ask adolescents if their parents smoke and if their siblings
> smoke, but we don't require parents and siblings to be consented.  So
> there is a precedent for respondents providing data on alters without
> them being consented.  (They did say however, that we could not ask
> respondents to indicate if their named peers smoked since smoking is
> illegal and we would be obligated to report on illegal behavior.  We
> could, however, ask if they thought each friend "approved of"
smoking.)
>
> The second thing we emphasized is that confidentiality and anonymity
> are
>
> 2 different things.  We can conduct research that is confidential
> without being anonymous.  As long as we protect confidentiality then
> anonymity is less important.  Then we had to convince them we would
> convert names to numbers and then discard the names in a safe way.
>
> -Tom
>
> Steven Corman wrote:
>
> >*****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****
> >
> >Has anyone made further headway on how to deal with IRB demands that
> >people named in network questionnaires be considered consenting
> >subjects?  A student just submitted a proposal and got this reply
from
> >our IRB:
> >
> >
> >
> >"There are spaces in the survey that ask respondents to list the
names
> >of people they know or who influence them.  Please add the text
> 'Please
> >do not identify any individual by name-use a fake name or title for
> that
> >person instead' to each place this occurs.  If other people are
> >identified within the survey then they would qualify as subjects also
> >and would have to consent to data about them being used."
> >
> >
> >
> >As discussed at a Sunbelt a couple of years back, this makes network
> >research impractical to impossible.  If I am going to fight them I
> could
> >use some ammunition.
> >
> >
> >
> >Thanks...
> >
> >
> >
> >Steve
> >
> >
> >
> >_____________________________________________
> >
> >Steven R. (Steve) Corman
> >
> >Professor, Hugh Downs School of Human Communication
> >
> >Arizona State University
> >
> >http://www.public.asu.edu/~corman/
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >_____________________________________________________________________
> >SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social
> >network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send
> >an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line
> >UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.
> >
> >
> >
> >
>
> --
> Evaluating Health Promotion Programs (Oxford U. Press):
> http://www.oup-usa.org/isbn/0195141768.html
>
> My personal webpage:
> http://www-hsc.usc.edu/~tvalente/
>
> The Empirical Networks Project
> http://ipr1.hsc.usc.edu/networks/
>
> ---
> Thomas W. Valente, PhD
> Director, Master of Public Health Program
> http://www.usc.edu/medicine/mph/
> Department of  Preventive Medicine
> School of Medicine
> University of Southern California
> 1000 S. Fremont Ave.
> Building A Room 5133
> Alhambra CA 91803
> phone: (626) 457-6678
> fax: (626) 457-6699
> email: [log in to unmask]
>
> _____________________________________________________________________
> SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social
> network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send
> an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line
> UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.
>
> _____________________________________________________________________
> SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social
> network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send
> an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line
> UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.

_____________________________________________________________________
SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social
network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send
an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line
UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.

_____________________________________________________________________
SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social
network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send
an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line
UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.

_____________________________________________________________________
SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social
network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send
an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line
UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.

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