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Submit a Professional Protocol

Writing a protocol is a different writing experience than writing a paper for a class, though similar principals apply.  As with any document, you must know your audience and how the protocol will be used.  In most cases, the Board will not meet with you and their only exposure to your study will be through your protocol.  The protocol needs to provide them will all of the tools they need to answer some vital questions: Who is the researcher and what is his or her experience?  Who are the participants?  What will they do in the study?  What risks will they encounter by participating in the study?  The questions in the protocol are designed to encourage you to answer these questions for the Board, so when you are responding to the protocol questions, keep these bigger questions in mind.

Our Board members carefully review their protocols and consider all of the factors involved.  However, if a protocol is poorly written, poorly organized, does not give enough information (such as missing details on how data will be collected), gives too much information (such as a very lengthy explanation into the theories behind the research), and/or is not written in lay language (such as using jargon or acronyms), it can be frustrating for the Board member to review and can encourage the reviewer to be more critical about the study.  Your protocol needs to convince the Board that you are a capable researcher prepared to take on the responsibilities of using participants in a study.  For more tips on preparing your protocol, please see Submission: Tips.

Writing good consent documents or scripts is particularly important.  The consent form templates should guide you regarding the type of information that needs to be included.  Make sure the information included is concise, clear, and easy to understand; take particular care to check for grammatical errors and punctuation problems.  Make sure to tailor the consent text to your study.  Ask some of your classmates to read your consent document or script and ask if they had trouble understanding what the consent describes. For more tips on preparing your consent process, please read the Consent section.

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