Research ethics boards and the gold standard(s) in literacy and science education research

Robert J. Anthony, Larry D. Yore, Richard K. Coll, Justin Dillon, Mei Hung Chiu, Cynthia Fakudze, Irene Grimberg, Bing Jyun Wang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Citations (Scopus)


Curiosity-driven research has traditionally investigated problems, issues, and challenges through a variety of research designs to match the research foci without many formal constraints. The character of those designs has been the venue of the researchers, to some degree the funding agency, and the research setting. The creative challenge for the researcher has been consideration of the nature of the problem and research question, development of the problem space, and the monetary, instrumental, and contextual resources available. Increasingly over the last 10-15 years, another presence has joined the research team-the Research Ethics Board (REB), Research Ethics Committee (REC), or Institutional Review Board (IRB). REBs (we use REBS, RECs, and IRBs interchangeably in this chapter) play a mandatory role in reviewing and permitting research conducted under the agency of funding bodies and educational or research institutions in many countries. Over this same time, REBs have become widely accepted as a necessary and reasonable process to ensure that ethical standards of research are maintained and to avoid the potential for litigation resulting fromfaulty research designs and procedures. However, some researchers contend that the unified research ethics regulations, or common rule, for all disciplines overemphasize biomedical inquiries, risks, and norms-leaving much of the uniqueness of social sciences, education, and professional practices and their associated research methods lacking consideration. While the value of REBs is recognized, it is also evident that their procedures and practices are not stable or neutral in their impact on researchers, he potential research topics that are undertaken, and the research designs utilized. These effects and the array of differential influences can be seen on every campus and organization where research ethics reviews operate and, as described in this chapter, in Africa, Asia, Canada, Europe, New Zealand, and the United States.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationQuality Research in Literacy and Science Education
Subtitle of host publicationInternational Perspectives and Gold Standards
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages47
ISBN (Print)9781402084263
Publication statusPublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Arts and Humanities


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