Interviewing by Students in English Department Courses
The English Department at Davidson College adopts the following policy for use in courses in which students conduct interviews as part of their research.
The College’s Institutional Review Board (IRB; also known as the Human Subject Review Committee) must approve interviews by students that deal with vulnerable populations (e.g., children, the mentally impaired or very elderly, prison inmates, etc.), sensitive topics of behavior (sex, drugs, alcohol), and topics that pose legal or financial risk if subjects’ identities were to be revealed. The procedure below should identify the possibility of any such interview occurring.
The chair will send a copy of this document and appended form, which contains the guidelines, to all members of the department at the beginning of each academic year.
In courses in which students conduct interviews as part of a research project, the instructor will distribute two copies of the appended form to students early in the semester and explain that professional ethics as well as Federal and institutional policies call upon interviewers to follow guidelines specified on it.
Before the interviewing process begins, the instructor will require each student-interviewer to fill out and sign one copy of the appended form and to reserve the other for reference and as a record. The instructor will retain the signed form for one full year after the end of the semester in which the project is completed.
In any situation in which an instructor has concerns about the nature of a proposed project, but in which the student feels strongly about proceeding, the instructor will direct the student to gain the approval of the IRB before conducting interviews in connection with the project.
Form: Students Conducting Interviews as Research for English Courses
(to be used in conjunction with published departmental guidelines)