From the desk of Adrianne E. Avillion, DEd, RN

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, June 1, 2012

Editor's note: This feature is written by nursing professional development expert Adrianne E. Avillion, DEd, RN. Each week, Adrianne writes about an important issue in the area of professional development or answers reader questions. If you have a question for Adrianne, e-mail her at

Submitting research proposals to institutional review boards
As we become more and more involved in nursing and nursing professional development (NPD) research we also become more involved in submitting research proposals to the organization's institutional review board (IRB). Some nurses, including NPD specialists, expect that someone else will deal with the IRB. Although nurse researchers, if your organization is lucky enough to have them, often guide the process, nurses and other healthcare professionals are now expected to prepare themselves to assume responsibility for preparing and presenting research proposals. Although each organization will have its own policies and procedures governing research, it is expected that all research proposals should thoroughly cover and explain:

  • The problem statement
  • Background and literature review
  • Purpose
  • Hypothesis
  • Proposed sample and justification of sample selection including inclusion/exclusion criteria and how participants will be recruited
  • How data will be collected
  • How data will be analyzed
  • Risks and benefits of the study

I read with interest an article in the May 2012 issue of The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing that provides practical tips for successful IRB submissions. The article also provides sample forms to help guide the reader in the IRB submission process. If you need to improve your own IRB presentation skills or are teaching others to do so, check out this article:

Rutherford-Hemming, T. Vlasses, F. R., & Rogers, J. K. (2012). Practice makes perfect: Tips for successful institutional review board submissions. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 43(5), 203-210.


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