The Kenyon College IRB addresses issues of confidentiality risks, privacy breaches and other human subjects' protection concerns in the development of research projects at the College including Documentary Films/Videos.
The IRB reviews activities involving the production of documentaries on a project-by-project basis taking into consideration:
Documentary projects can be exempt from the federal regulations regarding the protection of human subjects in research; however, they are not necessarily exempt from IRB review. Kenyon Documentary makers, even if they believe their project is not human subjects research, should submit an IRB application. The IRB may indeed find that the project is exempt from further review, but the IRB must make that determination.
The Administrator and Chair of the IRB review the application to determine if the project is exempt from further review. Documentary filmmakers may not initiate a project that they believe is exempt until they have received formal notice of concurrence from the IRB.
An exemption neither relieves documentary makers of ethical responsibility nor does it excuse them from the obligation to obtain informed consent to participate. The IRB is particularly interested in reviewing the information sheet (i.e., the informed consent) and the release form. The information/consent form and release form serve two different functions and should be kept separate. One copy of both the information/consent and release form must be provided to each participant and a copy of each placed in the file of the documentary maker. Signed forms should be kept by the filmmaker or their department for three years after the conclusion of the project.
Honest Truths: Documentary Filmmakers on Ethical Challenges in Their Work - Center for Social Media, American University, School of Communication, 2009.
Honest Truths: Looking at a Groundbreaking Ethics Report, Five Years Later - BY PATRICIA AUFDERHEIDE, [ida International Documentary Association.