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I had the same issue as Marya (interviewing people about
organization-level data), and took a different approach.  I intend to
use a snowball sample approach to finding experts, and am after
publicly-verifiable data, which means that the identity of the experts
is also a methodological "check" on my own judgment and conclusions.  

So after wrangling with the IRB for a while, I said I would take an
approach analogous to journalism -- not to offer either confidentiality
OR anonymity.  People have the option of not participating in the study
without penalty, and they have the option of approving my notes from the
interview (which is something no reporter should agree to!).  This was
just approved by my IRB.

Regards,
Annelies

Annelies Z. Kamran 
Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies 
The Graduate Center 
The City University of New York 
365 Fifth Avenue, Rm. 5203 
New York, NY  10016 
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-----Original Message-----
From: Social Networks Discussion Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
Behalf Of Marya L. Doerfel
Sent: Friday, September 14, 2007 12:47 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: IRB problems

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

I've managed a related issue with my IRB. I used snowball sampling. My
IRB
required that I get permission from my initial participant to mention
them
as the source for how I came to ask the new participant to be
interviewed.
My data will ultimately be organizational level data, but it was clear
to my
IRB that I was interviewing individuals and having names-named to expand
my
research. Similar to Tom's scenario, I had to make it clear that all
names
(and, ultimately, organizations' identities) would be changed to
pseudonyms
(I interviewed owners/CEOs, so if I were to name the actual
organizations or
businesses, it would be easy to determine the identity of the individual
interviewed).

Good luck-
Marya



--------------------------------------------------------------
Marya L. Doerfel, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
School of Communication, Information, & Library Studies
Rutgers University
732-932-7500 x8112

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