Institutional review boards (IRBs) are committees charged with the review and monitoring of research (including surveys) involving human participants. The basic principles of human research protection used today in the United States were outlined in the Nuremberg Code and were developed in response to the Nazi atrocities. Voluntary informed consent to research participation is at the core of that code. In response to research participant abuse in the first half of the 20th century, IRBs were mandated in the United States by the Research Act of 1974. In 1978, the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research submitted the Belmont Report, which recommended the basic ethical principles underlying the acceptable conduct of research involving human participants. Those principles are ...

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