Applied Project, Research Article and IRB

Shake it off and get started!

Ok IDSsem Participants,

I hope you are all brainstorming away on your ideas for your research article (RA) and your applied Project (AP). Thanks Tracy Ripkey, for bringing my attention to the fact that the RA and AP were not clearly on your radar! If I looked like a deer in the headlights or a bear at an empty feeder, that is precisely why, and I hope I did not get too rattled realizing my bad! I see now that a little more AP and RA pre-discourse would have been in order before all the brainstorming. Note, as Tracy did, that links to RA and AP Guidelines and other pertinent hyperlinks are posted throughout the syllabus. (Text in blue) Please keep in mind that these are general guidelines and that I encourage each of you to find your own unique path to the research that really excites you and an applied Project which engages you further in some kind of actionable program. Both the AP and the RA should be meaningful to you as a scholar.

I am acutely aware now that many of you had little to no idea just what the RA and AP are, so here goes!

Oh, before I get started on that, you will also be right to assume as we move forward in this course that everything we do in and out of class,
– writing exercises,
– discussions, and
– brainstorming exercises should connect directly to your research and work as an IDSsem major who is creating a capstone. That capstone is composed of 3 pillars which are your Personal Learning Network (PLN), your Research Article(RA), and your Applied Project (AP). We will continue brainstorming and planning our prospectuses (fancy word for proposals) while posting relevant ideas/essays as we move along, ideas that you can hopefully draw on to enrich all three of those pillars.

When you decide on a direction theme for your Research Article you may, right away, begin gathering data for your Lit Search (fancy term for sources), which should include everything from
– academic peer reviewed studies you find in journals,
– popular sources such as those found in newspaper and magazines,
– all sorts of texts including, but not limited to, art, film, music, poetry,
– your own experience/knowledge, and
– interviews, both gathered as secondary sources and those that you conduct personally.

Ask me if you’re not sure.

Now. In your syllabus I have linked the Rubrics and FAQs to both the

– Applied Project and

the Research Article.

Read through those carefully. You will note they have been designed by Dr. DeRosa. Consider your brainstorming sessions last night. If you have an idea you would like to bounce off of me I am happy to hear it. Email me your stuff.

Thanks to Brianna Groleau for bringing to my attention that most of you have read next week’s required readings in your intro to IDS but it doesn’t hurt to refresh your memory. The annotations app are for you to help you engage further with the text if you like. We will not be specifically discussing these in class next week.

I encourage you to notice things that happen around you as you move through your week. Consider those things and ideas that really interest you in regards to your specific major and it’s special focus, as you think about what you want to research and why, and how you want to apply it to a project which allows you to implement your designed program.

So, to recap, your two large modules are:
– 1) an applied project where you design a project in your fields and then execute it; and
– 2) a research article, which is basically a long research paper that you write on something related to your fields.

Because our program uses ePorts, websites that you and your peers have created, all of your work is published online. How cool is that?! 😎
For those of you who would like to see some examples of that work you can check out last year’s capstone students’ work here:

On a related note, some of you have reported that you have applied projects which will require you to engage with human subjects.

Students whose AP’s involve research on human subjects need to get approval from the PSU Institutional Review Board first. Research on human subjects does not mean running an activity or an educational program or reporting on something like a journalist, but studying people in more scientific ways. Generally, I don’t think you’ll need them for basic surveys, but if you do ongoing work testing, measuring, interviewing of subjects, you may need permission. Generally, it’s a good idea to send Stephen a preliminary inquiry (see email below) to ask if you need formal IRB approval, and you can CC me on that as well. For instance, if you want to run a fitness program for elderly people for six weeks and test their results…stuff like that…might require IRB approval. The IRB email is below for you to see, and I encourage any of you who are contemplating anything in this ballpark to read the IRB website info (also posted on our syllabus) and then contact Stephen early right away. IRB approvals are not always speedy, so you will want to get on this asap.

Here’s the email:

Greetings Colleagues:

I hope all of you are off to a great semester and are considering enhancing our scholarly community through individual, group, and/or cluster-based research endeavors. The Plymouth State University (PSU) Institutional Review Board (IRB) is charged with protecting the rights and welfare of human subjects and supports Plymouth State University’s research mission. The PSU IRB has a newly updated website that includes helpful information, resources, and frequently asked questions. The primary method for contacting the PSU IRB is through emailing the current IRB Chairperson. The email address for the IRB chair is Information on the current IRB membership can be found on the PSU IRB website. While the PSU IRB is a standing faculty committee, assistance is provided to the IRB from the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.

All PSU research activities proposing to involve human participants must be reviewed and receive written, unconditional approval from the IRB before commencing. The Federal Government has specific regulations, 45 CFR 46, regarding the use of human participants in research and requires such activity to be reviewed by an Institutional Review Board prior to any data being collected. . In 45 CFR§46.102 research is defined as “(d) … a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge.” This definition has been routinely interpreted as activities intended for presentation outside a classroom/educational setting. Any activities involving human participants that are intended to contribute to the “generalizable knowledge” must be reviewed by the PSU IRB without exception (this includes thesis, dissertations, research studies (quantitative/qualitative), independent studies, etc.).

Instructors who include class activities that use information or data from human participants, while such activities may not constitute research, must be cognizant of the potential impact of the activities on the participants. Further, they must recognize that the instructors are responsible for the activities and may be held personally liable for any negative impact the activity might have. It is the instructor’s responsibility to ensure that any research activity does not violate any laws or applicable policies. The University does not condone nor support classroom activities that place human participants in any form of risk, be it physical, financial, social, or emotional. Instructors using class activities for research purposes should consider contacting the IRB for further clarification, even if these activities would not be classified as research under 45 CFR 46. If there is any intent to present the findings of the activity beyond the classroom/educational setting, then the activity is research and must be submitted to the IRB for review before the data is collected.

Questions about the IRB review process or if an activity would be considered research should be directed to the PSU IRB Chair at

Federal Human Subject Regulations (,



Stephen V. Flynn, Ph.D., LPC (CO), LMFT (NH, CO), NCC, ACS
Associate Professor
Coordinator: Couples and Family Therapy Major and Certificate
Chair: IRB | College of Education, Health, and Human Services
Health and Human Enrichment Cluster, MSC 58
17 High St. | Plymouth, NH 03264
p: (603) 535-3221 | f: (603) 535-2117

Also, a big and long-time-coming thanks to Heather Diertele for waking up my iPad screen. Keep your posts coming! I still have a couple of you who have not posted your Twitter handle, be sure to put that on our Spreadsheet.

Finally, here’s a link to writing your IDS Statement if you haven’t already done so:

Some of you have been in contact with me already with your research and applied Project ideas. That is great, keep the ideas flowing! And like Miss Lucy, our mascot puppy above, dare to plunge in, shake it off, and remember to have a little fun along the way.

Whew! Right?!


Sharing ideas makes the world go around...