Case Bank


  • Adolescent Sleep Study

    Laura Chouette on Unsplash This study aims to measure the mental, educational and physiological effects of sleep deprivation on adolescents and means of alleviating those effects. Participants are aged 13–18, and will spend 15 days sequestered in a study facility under the supervision of the study team. They may be in contact with parents and others via telephone and internet, but leaving the premises will constitute withdrawal from the study. Participants will be randomly assigned either a normal sleep regimen or a sleep-deprived regimen. Throughout the day and night, they will wear a movement-sensitive wristband to measure physical activity and sleep patterns. On 4 nights, sleep will be monitored via electrodes placed on their body. During the day, participants will be given regular meals (food other than that provided by researchers is not permitted), attend science education activities and undergo a battery of psychological tests intended to measure the effects […]

  • High-paying survey

    A business school professor with a sizeable research budget would like to study attitudes of corporate leaders concerning effective leadership strategies that have allowed their companies to thrive. A corporate leadership training firm has agreed to forward the study invitation to its clients. Participants are to fill out an online questionnaire that lasts about 45 minutes, including details about their company’s size, revenue and net profits, as well as open-ended questions about successful business strategies. Given the value of corporate leaders’ time and the need to attract sufficient participants, the professor proposes to pay participants $200. Developed for use at an October 2016 CENTRES workshop on the Social, Behavioural and Educational Research. © 2016 National University of Singapore. All rights Reserved. Questions for Discussion Can the payment be considered undue inducement? Are there any concerns about the recruitment method? Would it make a difference if the subjects were, instead, low-income […]

  • Collaborative trial

    An employee at institution A, a physical therapy centre, wishes to conduct an investigation into the effects of a new massage technique developed by the employee on relieving pain in individuals who suffer from chronic back problems. Institution A does not routinely conduct human subjects research, and as such is not registered as a research institution with Ministry of Health (MOH) and has no IRB. The employee will be collaborating with institution B, a hospital with a patient pool that would be recruited into the study; the employee of Institution A would visit patients at Institution B and administer the massage. Furthermore, a researcher at institution C, a university, is interested in collaborating with the employee to design the study, analyse the results and write it up for publication. Both institutions B and C have IRBs; B is registered with MOH as a research institution. Institutions A and B are […]

  • Conformity replication

    A student wishes to replicate Milgram’s famous conformity study, with a slight modification. Subjects will be informed they and another volunteer are participating in a teaching intervention test. Subjects are told that they will be a “tester” and other volunteer will be a “learner” given a series of questions, and the tester are to press a button to administer an electric shock whenever the learner gets a question wrong. Shocks escalate in strength as more questions are answered incorrectly. Unbeknownst to the tester, the learners are actors; no shocks are actually delivered, though the learner will call out in pain as if they have been shocked. As the testing progresses, the learner will progressively give incorrect answers as shocks escalate. When the tester suggests that the learner has had enough, a study coordinator will instruct the tester to continue and assure them that everything is fine. The study will cease […]

  • Fitness band

    The proposed study will test the effect of a fitness band combined with monetary incentives on the fitness activity of participants. Participants will be given a fitness band to wear that monitors their number of steps taken each day, over a period of a month, and transmits the information to a central server. Each day they walk 10,000 steps, they will receive $10 (paid out at the end of the 30 days). Data will be transmitted to researchers in anonymized form, without individual identifiers. Researchers will analyse the data to determine whether the incentives had an effect on the number of steps taken, and in turn various health indicators. Developed for use at the February 2016 CENTRES workshop on the Human Biomedical Research Act. © 2016 National University of Singapore. Questions for Discussion Is this study within the scope of the Human Biomedical Research Act?

  • Health & Grades Study

    A professor is interested in the extent to which students’ medical issues affect their academic ability. He wants to recruit students at his college to fill in a questionnaire concerning any major health issues they have had in the past year, including dates and purpose of non-routine visits to the college’s health services. He also will ask for their permission to access their academic records from the same period, in order to measure whether there is a strong causal relationship between certain health issues and how well a student does in class. He will use the findings to generate recommendations concerning how professors may want to be sensitive in teaching and assessing students with those health issues highly correlated with poor performance. The researcher requests of his IRB a waiver of the requirement for consent. While the study uses identifiable health information, the researcher argues that the study is observational […]