This morning I worked on my IRB proposal. I have to have my study approved by the IRB in order to use human subjects in my research. We’ve gone over many examples of IRB proposals in class and I feel like I know how one should be written. It needs to be highly specific.
While I was writing my proposal this morning I realized that it is hard to be utterly specific, mainly because I have so many variables that I am still unsure about. How many times am I going to interview someone? How long will these interviews be? Will I compensate the people who help me? Will they get any benefit from my study? Am I going to use a tape recorder? Can I find a locked box in India to keep all my notebooks confidential? I am talking to Jay (my facilitator) today about my proposal, so hopefully he can help me determine these answers.
I also emailed two people today who I’ve never met, asking for some help with my research. The first is a professor at Dartmouth College who wrote an article entitled “From Butter Tea to Pepsi: A Rapid Appraisal of Food Preferences, Procurement Sources & Dietary Diversity in a Contemporary Tibetan Township”. I found this article when I first started my research for this study, but I didn’t save it and I haven’t been able to find it since. I asked her if she could send me a PDF version or a link to a page that had it available. I also asked if she knew of any books/articles that I could read to help me prepare for my study. The second person is a professor here at BYU and teaches an Anthropology of Food class. I really wanted to take this class, but my class schedule this semester didn’t allow it. I asked him if he had any reading suggestions as well. I really hope they email me back. I’m nervous because I’ve never talked to them before, but maybe they’ll have some sympathy on me because I share their interest in Tibetans and food.