Social, Behavioral, and Educational Research (SBER)

Webinar Bundle: Social, Behavioral, and Educational Research (SBER)

The SBER webinar bundle is made up of a curated selection of PRIM&R's recorded webinars, hand-picked to provide in-depth instruction. Developed and presented by experts, the webinars in this bundle offer insight into some of the fundamental concepts and considerations for the ethical oversight of SBER. Webinar topics include reviewing student research proposals, ethical considerations in political science research, and best practices for online survey research.

Continuing Education

Certificates of attendance are available for webinars recorded in 2014 or later, and can be used to obtain continuing education credit from professional organizations. If you are looking for credits to specifically recertify your PRIM&R credential, please refer to our lists of CIP-eligible PRIM&R programs and CPIA-eligible PRIM&R programs.

Included Webinars

Best Practices for Assessing Risk in Social and Behavioral Research


Speaker: Jeffrey M. Cohen, PhD, CIP

Risk to subjects is one of the central issues in research ethics. IRBs and investigators must not only evaluate the risks in the study, but also ensure that the risks are minimized and are reasonable in relation to the benefits of the research.

Many people confuse "risk" with "harm." Risk is actually the "possibility of harm." Determining the level of risk requires evaluating both the magnitude of the possible harm and the likelihood of the harm occurring. In addition, the risks and harms inherent in SBER frequently differ from those associated with biomedical research.

This webinar provides a framework for identifying and assessing risks in SBER. The following issues are addressed using case studies:

  • Assessing risk level and applying the definition of minimal risk
  • Identifying risks in SBER
    • Types of risk that commonly arise in SBER
    • Unique characteristics of SBER risks
  • Employing best practices to minimize risks and informing subjects about them
  • Evaluating whether risks are reasonable in relation to the benefits

Participation in this 60-minute webinar counts as 1 CE credit hour.

Convergence of Biomedical and Social/Behavioral Research: Implications for IRBs and Investigators


Speakers: Monika S. Markowitz, PhD, MA, MSN, RN and J. Michael Oakes, PhD

There is growing overlap between biomedical research and SBER, and conventional wisdom about the distinction between these two research domains is outdated and progressively misleading. Applications submitted for IRB approval often combine both types of studies, and research teams frequently include both biomedical and social/behavioral researchers. The future of research is increasingly interdisciplinary, and IRBs are advised to prepare their application triage systems as well as review panels accordingly.

Risk/benefit assessment becomes especially complicated by the overlap of these two domains. To appropriately assess the risk and benefit in any given application, IRBs must have relevant expertise; this is applicable to full board and especially to expedited reviews. Traditionally, IRB offices are tasked with triaging applications to biomedical or SBER panels to ensure sufficient knowledge in the respective domain to conduct appropriate and efficient reviews. When the research crosses disciplinary domains, however, it may be unclear which panel has the requisite expertise.

Presenters use case studies from their work as investigators, IRB members, and ethics consultants in interdisciplinary research with references to regulatory frameworks. Examples of risk/benefit assessment and IRB triage of interdisciplinary applications include:

  • Social scientists' use of electronic medical records for research
  • Use of medical records as sample frames for traditional survey research
  • Physicians conducting survey research
  • Genome-wide association studies and tissue bank data linked to survey data
  • fMRI research of (social) psychologists and others
  • Research involving twins
  • Kinesiology/exercise science research

Participation in this 90-minute webinar counts as 1.5 CE credit hours.

Hot Topics in Online Survey Research: Subject Identification, Consent, and Risk


Speakers: Elizabeth Buchanan, PhD and B. R. Simon Rosser, PhD, MPH, LP

Online research methods are increasingly common across scholarly disciplines. Particular scientific and ethical issues arise for online researchers in the areas of recruitment, consent, and risk/benefit analyses. This webinar addresses three “hot topics” in online survey research:

  • Subject identification: Online recruitment methods face unique challenges in validating whether subjects are human, unique, and eligible to participate. Presenters share strategies that address the challenges of misrepresentation and subject verification in online survey studies.
  • Models of consent: Online consent processes are evolving, shaped by technology, online risk, and user demand. Optional consent, tailored consent, implied consent, and other approaches facilitated by online communication are changing how we think about and approach consent. Presenters examine the evolution of consent in the era of smart technologies and pervasive connectivity and ponder the future of online consent.
  • Risk/benefit analyses: What constitutes risk in online research? Are there new ways of thinking about minimal risk? As cybersecurity breaches occur on almost a daily basis, how can researchers minimize risk? In this segment, presenters discuss confidentiality concerns, collection of personal information, and research integrity issues in risk/benefit analyses.

Participation in this 90-minute webinar counts as 1.5 CE credit hours.

Key Decision Points: Is it Research Involving Human Subjects? Is it Exempt? Is IRB Review Required?


Speakers: Karen Hale, RPh, MPH, CIP and Daniel Nelson, MSc, CIP

This webinar focuses on identifying whether activities are human subjects research and, if so, what level of review they require. Using case studies from both biomedical and SBER, presenters discuss the process for determining when an activity constitutes research involving human subjects, and when such research is exempt, qualifies for expedited review, or must undergo full IRB review.

  • What is considered human subjects research?
    • During this part of the presentation, the speakers identify when an activity is considered “research” and when that activity involves “human subjects” as defined in the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations. They also briefly explore what it means to be “engaged in research” and therefore obligated to apply the regulations.
  • When is research exempt? 
    • This section features an overview of the federally mandated exemption categories and the differences between DHHS and FDA regulations with regard to exempt research.
  • When is IRB review required? 
    • This section of the webinar focuses on the criteria for expedited review, and the speakers compared this type of IRB review with full board review.

Participation in this 90-minute webinar counts as 1.5 CE credit hours.

New Ethical Challenges in Experimental Political Science


Speakers: Scott W. Desposato, PhD and Trisha Phillips, PhD

Over the past two decades, political scientists have adopted experimental methods to interact directly with subjects in the United States and globally. This new wave of field experimentation has produced some very public controversies. Researchers have created illegal attack advertisements during political campaigns, exposed subjects to risks of violence through experiments conducted in authoritarian regimes overseas, and even gone so far as to commit crimes to measure police responses. These recent controversies have contributed to distrust among the public and made apparent the need to consider the ethical implications of this experimental work. How can IRBs guide political scientists in conducting ethically sound research while continuing to generate valuable knowledge about the political, economic, and cultural sphere?

Using case studies from global and domestic research, a political scientist and an ethicist:

  • Explore current landscapes and trends in experimental political science research
  • Describe the way in which political scientists perceive the current ethical frameworks and regulations for evaluating political science research
  • Examine the role of the IRB in political science protocols as it relates to:
    • Granting exemptions
    • Assessing new types of risks and benefits
    • Evaluating waivers of informed consent, deception, and debriefing
    • Considering new issues of justice
  • Review concepts of confidentiality and anonymity in the conduct of experiments and reporting of results
  • Present an argument for continued ethics education for political scientists and ongoing dialogue between political scientists and IRB professionals

Participation in this 90-minute webinar counts as 1.5 CE credit hours.

Protecting Human Subjects in Qualitative Research: Ethical Considerations for IRBs and Researchers


Speaker: Julie Simpson, PhD

This webinar provides an introduction to qualitative research; discusses ethical challenges inherent in conducting and reviewing this type of research; and offers strategies to address them. In qualitative inquiry, researchers study phenomena in their natural settings, where the purpose is contextualization, interpretation, and/or understanding the perspectives of others. The role of qualitative researchers in a study is characterized by personal involvement and empathetic understanding. The challenges specific to this research domain, for both researchers and IRBs, include the emergent nature of qualitative research, a researcher’s relationships with research subjects, obtaining informed consent, and confidentiality and privacy.

Additionally, IRB members’ gaps in understanding qualitative inquiry may stand in the way of correctly identifying problematic aspects of a proposed study, or result in what is often viewed as inappropriate changes to the study design. Qualitative researchers are often frustrated by this perceived lack of understanding of qualitative inquiry. These gaps in understanding may also result in IRBs not correctly identifying problematic aspects of a proposed study. Further, qualitative researchers may not fully grasp the ethical concerns that their studies raise vis-à-vis human subjects protections, such as the potential effects of a researcher’s dual roles in a setting, or that informed consent is a process. They may also not understand how to mitigate such concerns and/or to communicate effectively with IRBs about how to address these challenges within the regulatory framework.

The goal of this webinar is to provide IRB members with a better understanding of the issues that qualitative researchers face and to introduce strategies to address these issues while recognizing the unique characteristics of the qualitative research process. Topics for discussion include:

  • Differences between qualitative and quantitative research paradigms
  • Ethical issues that qualitative research methodologies may present to study subjects.
  • Strategies for IRB members and qualitative researchers to minimize harm to study subjects.

Participation in this 60-minute webinar counts as 1 CE credit hour.

Reviewing Student Research: Best Practices and Future Directions


Speakers: Amy King, MPH and J. Michael Oakes, PhD

IRBs at many academic institutions are reporting increases in the number of social and behavioral research protocols from graduate and undergraduate students. This webinar will provide strategies for addressing challenges inherent in reviewing student research proposals, including:

  • Identifying who is considered a student
  • Educating students and their advisors about the role of the IRB
  • Knowing and meeting regulatory requirements for student research
  • Approving protocols in time for students to complete the study within the time frame of the academic year
  • Streamlining the process of determining whether a study conducted by an undergraduate student is considered human subjects research
  • Establishing whether there are additional institutional obligations

Participation in this 90-minute webinar counts as 1.5 CE credit hours.

Access Webinar Bundles

Webinar bundles are available to individual PRIM&R members at no cost. For a fraction of the cost of this bundle, become a member to watch the included webinars and gain dozens of other member benefits. 

Nonmembers can purchase individual or group access to this webinar bundle using the order form below. Each webinar is also availalbe individually. 

Individual nonmember rate: $1,260

Group nonmember rate: $2,700

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