I spent hours and hours to write an application to get Institutional Review Board approval for my coming dissertation research since the interviews I might (not even “will” ) have could fall under “human subjects research.” Last week my application was returned since a lot of information was missing. That means I had to spend another few days rewriting it. Sigh. Seriously, I just want to ask simple questions about what they remember from the Japanese colonial period. The whole IRB thing is designed for medical and psychological experiments and surveys, and it just does not fit historical research.
While I was putting this off, I got an email from God the Oral History Research Office of my university, saying that my research probably falls under Oral History, which is “excluded” from IRB inspection. THANK GOODNESS! I have just talked to the director of this OHRO, and I am liberated from IRB. This is a good lesson for historians. Find out if your university’s IRB has an oral history exemption.