A professor is interested in the extent to which students’ medical issues affect their academic ability. He wants to recruit students at his college to fill in a questionnaire concerning any major health issues they have had in the past year, including dates and purpose of non-routine visits the college’s health services. He also will ask for their permission to access their academic records from the same period, in order to measure whether there is a strong causal relationship between certain health issues and how well a student does in class. He will use the findings to generate recommendations concerning how professors may want to be sensitive in teaching an assessing students with those health issues highly correlated with poor performance.
The researcher requests of his IRB a waiver of the requirement for consent. While the study uses identifiable health information, the researcher argues that the study is observational in nature and poses only minimal risk. Waiving the requirement would, according to the researcher, ensure sufficient participants to generate a robust result while avoiding non-participation biases that may skew results.
Developed for use at an October 2016 CENTRES workshop on the Social, Behavioural and Educational Research. © 2016 National University of Singapore. All rights Reserved. May be used for educational purposes only.