IRB QOTD: Schrag, “How Talking Became Human Subjects Research”

For better or for worse, social science research is now governed by an institutional review board system that seems to have the problems and promises of medical research, and not social science, as its priority. Zachary Schrag has an excellent article on the history of social sciences and the IRB, “How Talking Became Human Subjects Research.” Schrag summarizes the argument quite vividly:

“This article draws on previously untapped manuscript materials in the National Archives that show that regulators did indeed think about the social sciences, just not very hard. … Compared to medical experimentation, the social sciences were the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern of human subjects regulation. Peripheral to the main action, they stumbled onstage and off, neglected or despised by the main characters, and arrived at a bad end.”


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