IRB Approvals and Developing a Logic Model

Project Plastikan does not require IRB approval, since the IRB board grants approval for research that studies human subjects. While our team’s research does involve humans, we are not directly studying them the way that say one of the medical care project teams may study humans for their research. Our project research will not be studying the women in the women’s co-op in Metro Manila, but instead will be focused on teaching these women how to use the machines, and will also be focused on invoking a creative and innovative spirit in the members of the co-op. The research that our team will be doing is more closely an investigation of the overall environment of the plastics pollution and waste crisis in both the world and the local area of Metro Manila. Additionally, our research is also focused on developing a comprehensive paper on the different types of recyclable plastics, their ability to be recycled as it pertains to our specific recycling process, and the possible products that can be produced using our specific machines. Put simply, the second branch of our research is focused on answering the question “what can we make with x plastics and y machines?”

Our team’s research is oriented to a much more material-based subject matter, but will also involve collaborating with multiple groups and organizations. Like most other things, it is possible that the goals and trajectories of Project Plastikan may evolve as time goes on, and in such a situation it’s possible that our team may wish to change our research deliverable and generate a paper on our experiences with attempting to effectively lead a workshop with middle aged women and what methods for educating them in a technical field are most effective and efficient. In this case, it would be important to seek the approval of the IRB, as this paper would require closely studying the women in the co-op and how they learn best. The women would play a much closer role to being subjects in a study, rather than serving as individuals who are motivated to learn about plastic recycling machines and to begin using their creativity and innovation skills to produce artisan goods or building materials to generate an income. An issue with this scenario is that as our team already has a plethora of things that we wish to accomplish in what little time we have to achieve all of our goals, that adding an additional area of research may prove to spread ourselves too thin to effectively accomplish any of our goals. However, as the project grows and matures, a possible research paper on the methods that are most effective in educating middle aged women in a technical process may be worthwhile to publish and show outside groups and organizations that we are doing tangible work.

The first element of the Project Plastikan logic model is the various inputs that the project requires. The first clear input is the source of recyclable plastics that will be put through the production process of the machines that we will build and will be eventually turned into the artisanal and industrial goods that can be sold from the women’s co-op. The other inputs to the venture will be the actual humans behind the operations of the machines- the members of the women’s co-op. These middle aged women will supply the human capital that will operate the machines and sell the goods that are produced.

The second element of the Project Plastikan logic model is the activities that will go on- the end goal is for these activities to be the research that goes into building the system from the ground up, as well as the actual production processes. The production process will include the entire cycle of taking in the plastic waste and using our four machines (extruder, compressor, shredder, and injection molder) to generate our output products. For our research, the activities will include working closely with the sustainable development team, the UPD teams, and additional local stakeholders in the plastics recycling arena to further optimize and enhance the process that we are laying out for the women’s co-op. Additionally, the second branch of the team’s research is to create the study on what can be made with a given array of plastics and our machines.

The outputs of the Project Plastikan come in two flavors- recycled plastic products in the form of artisanal goods and also in the form of industrial building materials. The artisan goods can be sold locally and internationally to buyers to earn a direct income for the members of the women’s co-op, and the industrial goods can be sold to local firms and organizations as stock materials for building and other industrial needs.

The last step of our logic model is the outcome as a result of the outputs. This aspect has two dimensions as well: to create an easily replicating process that will bit by bit put  a dent in the overall plastic recycling crisis in the philippines and in the world as a whole. Additionally, the second outcome of the project is to provide the members of the co-op with a steady source of income, thus empowering the women there by allowing them to harness their own creativity and innovation to generate income for themselves while helping the sustainable development of the local area.

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