Oral history IRB ethics protocols at international academic institutions

Katherina Thomas's picture


I am looking for resources on how IRBs at international academic institutions approach the review and exemption of oral history. It seems very challenging to find information online about ethics review protocols outside of the US, UK or Australia. I am particularly interested in sub-Saharan Africa but would be very grateful if anyone here could point me in the direction of protocols in Asia, South America or more broadly the global south and whether researchers typically apply for exemption or not. Or perhaps some of you have gone through this process yourselves? I'd be very grateful for perspectives or insights. This is to inform ethics approach to a project in sub-Saharan Africa. Thank you! 


Greetings from Notre Dame University in Lebanon (www.ndu.edu.lb)!
I am a member of the IRB and helped draft the initial research ethics protocols in the years leading up to our NEASC (later NECHE) accreditation five years ago.
I would be glad to respond to the Katherina Thomas directly RE the details, but in a nut shell, our IRB is still discussing this issue because we are in the process of dealing with our first large oral history project on the Great Famine of Lebanon 1915-1918. The majority of the IRB member are in favour of requiring application and review, with a minority supporting exempiton.
Either way, this will need to ultimately be dealt with by the Council of Deans, once we justify our position.

Eugene Richard Sensenig, Ph.D.
Department of Government and International Relations (GIR)
Faculty of Law and Political Sciences (FLPS)
Gender, Communications and Global Mobility (GCGM) studies unit at FLPS
وحدة دراسات النوع الإجتماعي، التواصل، التنقل والحركة العالمية
Publish What You Pay-NDU Student Society (PNS) faculty coordinator
Notre Dame University, Zouk Mosbeh campus, Room FLPS1.11
PO Box 72 Zouk Mikael, Lebanon
sensenig@cyberia.net.lb and esensenig@ndu.edu.lb
office: +961-9-208196 – mobile: +961-3-909406 – home: +961-9-797358

Dear Katherina,

I am based in Colombia and here exemptions do not apply for oral history. In my university, all research that includes human subjects has to go through IRB. You can find all the information about the process (in Spanish) here: https://investigacioncreacion.uniandes.edu.co/es/avales-y-permisos


Catalina Muñoz
Profesora Asociada
Departamento de Historia
Universidad de los Andes

Thank you, all. I appreciate your responses. I will also come back to this thread once we have greater insight into how things look/evolve re IRB at sub-Saharan African institutions, in case it is helpful to others.