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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

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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/
>
> 
>
> 
>
>
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>  
>

-- 
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]

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