LINGUIST List 8.1584

Tue Nov 4 1997

Qs: Human subjects, Arrernte sound files

Editor for this issue: Elaine Halleck <>

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  1. Bill Eggington, human subjects review board
  2. Julian Bradfield, Sound files of Arrernte?

Message 1: human subjects review board

Date: Mon, 03 Nov 1997 17:22:47 +0000
From: Bill Eggington <>
Subject: human subjects review board

To help my question make sense, I provide the following background: 

My graduate students and I often conduct sociolinguistic type
research that requires us to interview people and/or to have them
fill out sociolinguistic surveys. In the past, if we were
interviewing university students and if we felt that our research
was going to be of a type that actually impinged upon an
interviewee's privacy, or affected them in other ways, we sought
approval from a university "human subjects review board." This
process was usually fairly simple. 

Apparantly over the summer, university policy changed. We are now
required to seek approval for every research project that involves
"humans" anywhere by completing a complex 10 page approval form,
submitting statements describing the specific aims of the project,
background or significance, description of subjects, method or
procedures, data analysis, risks and benefits, qualifications of the
investigator, and references. We also have to submit a "consent"
form which, when approved, needs to be given to every survey
respondent or interviewee. The consent form looks and reads like a
legal document. The review board makes no distinction between survey
respondent/interviewee and "subject". They are all subjects. So, for
example, I have to seek human subject approval when I interview a 
government official regarding bilingual education policy etc.

This complex review process takes about a month, and often involves
someone on the review board wanting additional information or
clarification. Some of my colleagues and I have been strident in
our objections to this approval process seeing it as an unnecessary
complexity. We also feel that the consent form will taint the
data. The administrator in charge of the review process defends
these new rules by saying that U.S. Federal Guidelines have forced
the university to enact this detailed level of review. Our plan now 
is to put together some sort of request for a review of the new 
policies -- which explains the rationale behind the following 

1. Are other universities requiring approval in such detail? 
2. What review processes are followed at other universities?
3. Is BYU's new policy an aberration or is this hypersensitivity in 
protecting interviewee's rights/privacy part of a national trend 
which could seriously affect the quality of 
sociolinguistic/linguistic research?

Any assistance would be welcome. I will summarize comments for the 

Bill Eggington
Dr. William Eggington
Professor, English Language and Linguistics
3164 JKHB, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah 84602 USA.
Ph: (801) 378-3483; Fax: (801) 378-4720
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Message 2: Sound files of Arrernte?

Date: Tue, 4 Nov 1997 09:19:19 GMT
From: Julian Bradfield <>
Subject: Sound files of Arrernte?

Does anybody know of any sound files (wav, aiff, au, whatever)
available of Arrernte, in particular demonstrating its four different
coronal stops?
(I've searched the Web, but found no sound files among the many
references to Arrernte.)

(What I *really* want is a CD to accompany Ladefoged and Maddieson
"The Sounds of the World's Languages"---somebody ought to produce
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