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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

I am interested in doing research with the Department of Corrections, but do not know what to investigate. Do you have any ideas?

Department of Corrections (DOC) supports and conducts research relevant to its programs, services, operations, mission, and strategic goals. Please see DOC’s strategic goals and priory topics(pdf).

I am interested in doing research with Department of Corrections. What should I do before I contact Research & Data Analytics?

Review the Research & Data Analytics website and the Research Process Flow Chart(pdf).

You should have a concise understanding of your intended project. Be prepared to discuss the following:

  • Project scope: A well-defined rationale for your research, including some familiarity with the population and related literature informing your interest
  • Research questions: Questions are concise and are framed to include population, period, or place and, as appropriate, additional variables of interest
  • Specific variables of interest: Data are pertinent to the questions to be addressed
  • Methodology: Rigorous methods connecting questions, analytic tools and results
  • Proposed deliverables: Research products pertaining to this work including presentations, manuscripts, reports, etc.
  • Timeline

What is the process to conduct research with the Department of Corrections?

Review the Research Process Flow Chart(pdf).

My agency/institution has an Institutional Review Board (IRB). Can I use my IRB instead of obtaining Washington State Institutional Review Board (WSIRB) approval?

Per RCW 42.48, the Washington State Institutional Review Board is the only entity that both determines and approves research with the Department of Corrections.

I want to conduct research. Who should I contact first - Research & Data Analytics or Washington State Institutional Review Board (WSIRB)?

If you are interested in conducting research with Department of Corrections, it is recommended that you contact Research & Data Analytics first to determine if your research aligns with and supports agency programs, services, operations, mission, and/or strategic goals.

Washington State Institutional Review Board (WSIRB) has established multiple project Institutional Review Board (IRB) Authorization Agreements with several institutions. These Agreements allow one institution to rely on the Institutional Review Board (IRB) review of another institution. Please see Washington State Institutional Review Board (WSIRB)’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) Authorization Agreements.

I am a student (e.g., high school or undergraduate) interested in doing a research project (e.g., thesis, capstone, class project). Do I need to go through Washington State Institutional Review Board (WSIRB)?

Per Washington State Agency Policy on Protection of Human Research Subjects(pdf), only graduate students, are able to apply to do research.

I am a graduate student interested in doing a research project (e.g., thesis, dissertation, class project). Do I need to go through Washington State Institutional Review Board (WSIRB)?

If your project is deemed to be research, you must go through the Washington State Institutional Review Board (WSIRB). We limit requests which are not directly related to the agency mission and strategic goals. Selections are highly competitive and based on agency priorities. Please consider this if you have a specific timeline for your project/assignment.

Per Washington State Agency Policy on Protection of Human Research Subjects(pdf), research proposals submitted by students must be signed by the chair of their academic department or the chair of their thesis/dissertation committee, and by the director of the university's or college's institutional review board office. Research applications by candidates for a doctoral degree (dissertation research) and by post-doctoral trainees are considered professional applications and are subject to all departmental application and review standards that apply to professional research activities in general.

My research project is based on publically disclosable data (and/or does not require individual-level data). Do I still need to go through Washington State Institutional Review Board (WSIRB)?

Regardless of the type of data you will be using – publically disclosable or non-publically disclosable – if the project is deemed research by the Washington State Institutional Review Board (WSIRB), you will still need to go through the Washington State Institutional Review Board (WSIRB).

I do not want to conduct research with incarcerated or supervised individuals. I want to do research with staff members, volunteers and/or contractors. Do I still need to go through Washington State Institutional Review Board (WSIRB)?

Yes. Per RCW 42.48, any research that involves staff members, volunteers, and/or contractors must first be routed to Research & Data Analytics and approved by the Washington State Institutional Review Board (WSIRB).