Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Joseph Moxley, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Norbert Elliot, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Stephen Neely, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ellen Barton, Ph.D.


public policy, research ethics, justice, research administration


In this multi-method dissertation project I conduct policy analysis and utilize results from a discipline-wide survey (n=258) to examine the intersection of Writing Studies researchers’ disciplinary affiliation, research context, and personal disposition in relation to the local implementation of federal policy regarding human subjects research. I elaborate on the context of this project, discussing the September 2015 release of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to revise and update the Common Rule, 45.CFR Part 46, and the Conference on College Composition and Communication’s formal comment in response to the proposed rule’s provisions. I discuss the process of designing and implementing the survey used to establish a disciplinary representation of Writing Studies researchers’ perceptions of, and experiences with, IRBs. The results of this survey (Chapter 4) indicate how Writing Studies researchers presently interface with the process of local policy implementation. In Chapter 5, data from the survey are set against the Final Rule (released January 19, 2017) to provide a new taxonomy for Writing Studies researchers regarding how to interface with IRBs. Finally, the major theoretical contribution is articulated in Chapter Six: a call for human subjects researchers in Writing Studies to consider IRBs as justice-oriented, rather than positivist, in design and purpose. I argue increasingly reciprocal relationships between IRBs and Writing Studies researchers will help ensure Writing Studies research is not overly influenced by IRB review, nor that Writing Studies researchers are unwilling or unable to interface with IRBs to build more ethical and robust research agendas.