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06. Ethical Considerations

What are ethical considerations?

❶Thus ethical considerations influence many decisions, including information delivery. Community residents may have different judgments than researchers or IRBs.

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Parents also need to know where, if anywhere, they might go for help e. Third, the researchers need to make clear during the informed consent process whether, when, and how the results of experimental tests will be offered to parents.

Some tests are run shortly after samples are taken, while others may be run in batches, sometimes at the end of the study after all samples have been obtained.

In some cases, the health significance of particular test results will become known over time, for example, as research on a particular biomarker advances. Parents should be told in the informed consent process what the researcher will do in such situations. Similarly, some test results e. To address these ethical dilemmas, researchers should discuss experimental tests that are part of the research protocol with the community see Chapter 5 and should ensure that the informed consent process includes thorough disclosure of whether, when, and how the results of such tests will be shared with parents see Chapter 6.

All research can have unintended consequences. If third parties meet either of these criteria, researchers must obtain their informed consent see Chapter 6. However, even if the federal regulations do not consider them research participants, people living in the same household, the same multiunit dwelling, or the same neighborhood as a study subject may be affected by research.

Researchers may have ethical obligations to such third parties. Other household residents may experience psychosocial harms, such as embarrassment or shame, if they or other residents are observed to be living in substandard housing or engaging in certain behaviors, such as alcohol abuse. Residents may also face legal liability if they are identified as carrying out illegal activities in their homes.

In addition, residents may encounter physical risks, such as exposure to noise or dust, resulting from procedures carried out as part of the study: Researchers need to anticipate and make plans for the effect of their research on other household residents. Often the researchers can simply ask. Such notification gives other residents an opportunity to be absent from the home when the research interventions are carried out so that they are not inconvenienced by interviews, inspections, or repairs and so that their privacy is not compromised.

Research carried out in rental properties can have consequences for landlords. Researchers need to examine the specific terms of a lease for any restraints on the normal right of the occupant to invite any law-abiding person into the dwelling and to make minor improvements, such as installing battery-powered smoke alarms.

If researchers propose to make significant structural changes to the home, such as installing new windows, the permission of the owner needs to be obtained. However, minor modifications that a tenant would have authority to make do not ordinarily require additional permission.

Researchers should also take reasonable steps to provide information to landlords about possible public resources for helping to correct housing hazards and code violations, particularly if such hazards might be reported to authorities. Neighbors may also experience adverse consequences of research. For example, pest management carried out in one unit of an apartment building may cause pests to flee to other units. Researchers need to anticipate such unintended results and take steps to minimize them.

In the case of pest control, for example, researchers might reframe the study intervention to carry out pest management throughout a building rather than in a single unit to avoid causing harms to residents of other units. In other research studies, such as when repairs are made to a single unit, researchers should provide neighbors whatever notice would be expected if the landlord or tenant were carrying out similar activities outside the research context.

If potentially disruptive activities are planned, informing neighbors of the plans gives them the opportunity to act as they wish in response to the activities such as by leaving their units. It is important to note that third parties may benefit from research as well as suffer inconvenience or risks. Educational activities may benefit neighbors as well as the family participating in the study. For example, in a study of a pesticide intervention involving rural farm workers, some participating parents brought friends or family to meetings to discuss strategies for reducing pesticide exposure Salvatore et al.

Landlords benefit if the research involves such improvements as pest control, the installation of smoke detectors, or other interventions that increase the quality and value of their properties. Community groups may also be third parties in many housing-related research studies. Community representatives sometimes ask for benefits to. Often, community groups seek to have local residents hired as research staff and receive training that will enhance their employability in the future.

Researchers should also present relevant findings—either on their own or in conjunction with community representatives—to local, state, or federal officials and testify at pubic hearings to support evidence-based public policies that would ameliorate housing health hazards. Researchers cannot be expected to ensure that research findings are fully implemented, but these steps can help the community benefit from the findings.

Researchers should develop a plan to disseminate results to the families participating in the study, as well as the affected community. The appropriate actions regarding third parties will vary according to the particular study and need to be determined on a case-by-case basis, following the general ethical guidelines of respect for persons, beneficence, and justice. In considering risks to third parties, researchers need to focus on risks that are foreseeable and significant rather than those that are conceivable but extremely unlikely or of minor importance.

It is important not to place requirements on researchers that are overly broad, vague, or open-ended, lest they deter important, soundly designed research that is intended to alleviate housing health hazards that are disproportionately severe in vulnerable populations.

These risks to staff may be greater than when research is carried out in a medical institution. As with all research, housing health hazards researchers have an obligation to consider the safety of their staff and to develop plans appropriate to their particular research project: When researchers enter homes for their work, they cannot avoid making observations beyond the information collected as part of the research.

They may observe risks that are not related to the topic of the study. If a researcher learns about environmental hazards or behaviors by others that place a child in imminent risk of serious harm, there may be a legal requirement to report such information to specific authorities.

However, interventions to reduce risks could violate confidentiality and could be ineffective or even counterproductive. In addition, the child at risk or the person s engaging in behavior that puts a child at risk may not be a participant in the research study as defined in the federal regulations.

The researcher may have no prior relationship with those being observed and may be viewed as invading their privacy. Confidentiality must be distinguished from the related concept of privacy. Privacy is also violated if others obtain information about a person that he or she wants to keep inaccessible.

Confidentiality refers to limits on the dissemination of information disclosed by a person within a special professional relationship, such as the doctor-patient relationship or participant-researcher relationship Beauchamp and Childress, Within these special relationships, the disclosed information is protected against disclosure to third parties by professional codes of conduct and by law. Furthermore, researchers often promise confidentiality of research data, with certain limitations, during the informed consent process.

Thus, for example, when physicians have permission to gather medical information about a child patient, they may learn that the child is at risk for child abuse or domestic violence or places others at risk because of a contagious disease.

To take steps to protect the patient or third parties, the physician would have to breach confidentiality; the ethical issue is whether it is appropriate to do so. In housing health hazards research, a researcher who has permission to enter a home to collect research data might incidentally observe evidence of child abuse or domestic violence, even though these are not the topic of the research. Here the ethical issue is whether it is appropriate to use information obtained under permission to collect research data for purposes that go beyond the scope of this permission.

Overriding confidentiality in such situations poses dilemmas for researchers because several strong ethical guidelines may be in conflict. First, researchers have an ethical or professional obligation to try to prevent harm to children who cannot protect themselves.

In some situations, they may also have legal responsibilities through statutory reporting duties, which. Second, well-intended actions may be ineffective or counterproductive and actually cause greater harm.

Actions intended to alleviate risks may have unintended adverse effects see the discussion below , such as the attempted eviction of the household after a unit has been reported for housing code violations. Third, researchers have an ethical obligation to respect the privacy and confidentiality of the residents of the homes in which their research is being carried out.

Privacy and confidentiality show respect for persons affected by the research. Far-ranging interventions by researchers, even if intended to benefit residents of the household, may be considered meddlesome intrusions by them. In addition, privacy and confidentiality have instrumental research value by making it more likely that people will agree to participate in research. In clinical medicine and public health, confidentiality may be overridden in certain situations to protect a person or third party from harm without legal repercussions; in some situations confidentiality must or may be overridden.

For instance, confidentiality must be overridden in some circumstances to protect someone from child abuse, domestic violence, or elder abuse. In addition, confidentiality must be overridden to protect third parties, as when specified infectious diseases are required to be reported to public health officials.

Widely accepted ethical guidelines Beauchamp and Childress, ; Gostin, ; Lo, identify such situations in which confidentiality may or must be overridden to protect a person or third party from harm:. The potential harm to identifiable persons is of serious magnitude and high likelihood. There is no less invasive alternative to overriding confidentiality for warning or protecting those at risk. Harms resulting from the breach of confidentiality are minimized and acceptable.

Disclosure should be limited to information essential for the intended purpose, and only those persons with a need to know should receive the information. The more of these criteria that apply, the stronger are the ethical reasons for an obligation or a license to disclose confidential information. These guidelines form the ethical underpinnings of laws and regulations regarding the confidentiality of personal health information.

This approach of balancing the likelihood of preventing serious harm against the harms caused by a breach of confidentiality can help researchers respond to risks they observe. The informed consent process see Chapter 6 should clearly specify the situations in which confidentiality will be overridden.

When physicians provide medical services to patients, they have a clear ethical duty to place the interests of the patient above their own self-interest or the interests of third parties, such as insurers. The doctor-patient relationship, based in trust, obligates physicians to behave in a competent and professional manner and assures patients that only interventions thought to be in their best interests will be recommended.

This is particularly understandable when the researchers are physicians or other health care professionals. In addition, research participants are familiar with relating to health professionals in the clinical setting and expect such professionals have their interests at heart.

Unlike clinical care, the primary objective of research is not to benefit participants directly, but rather to produce generalizable knowledge. While investigators are not obligated to act solely in the interests of individual participants, they have legal duties to protect them by obtaining informed consent, ensuring that the risks of research are proportional to the expected benefits, and minimizing risks.

In particular, investigators need to inform participants about the interventions that will be carried out during the research and their risks and benefits.

In addition, researchers must guard against the possibility of conflating research and clinical goals. As discussed above and in previous chapters, two role-specific obligations are 1 to provide information beyond that required in the federal regulations, if appropriate, for parents to decide whether to enroll their children in the research project see Chapter 6 and 2 to have a plan to deal with risks observed in homes that are unrelated to the research.

If researchers do not act, an opportunity to prevent serious harm may be lost because no one else with similar expertise observes the conditions. Moreover, parents of research subjects are likely to expect that investigators will inform them if environmental hazards detrimental to their health are discovered in the course of the research, even if those hazards are not the focus of study. Nor do researchers have an obligation to eliminate all housing health hazards in the households they.

However, they do have an obligation to do what is reasonable under the circumstances. Above all, they should not make the situation worse for those already at risk. The appropriate course of action will depend on the specific situation: Researchers have an ethical obligation to anticipate what kinds of risk they are likely to observe, to develop reasonable plans to address anticipated risks which include procedures for how staff will be expected to respond to specific risks, and to train staff on these plans.

Researchers also have an obligation to discuss how they will respond to such risks as part of the informed consent process. The first step for researchers is to consult with community representatives to identify likely risks and community resources.

Community representatives can help researchers identify and understand risks that they are likely to observe. Examples of some of these issues include voluntary participation and informed consent.

These principles are followed to guarantee that all human subjects are choosing to participate of their own free will and that they have been fully informed regarding the procedures of the research project and any potential risks.

Ethical standards also protect the confidentiality and anonymity of the subjects. Review the following slideshow to begin understanding the key ethical considerations for researchers and the history of ethical issues in research.

This slideshow is a comprehensive discussion of ethical issues that researchers may face and provides definitions of key terminology for new researchers. This slideshow includes the use of case studies to illustrate many of these considerations. The following video discusses all types of ethical considerations in research including use of human subjects, consent, plagiarism, guiding principles, and so forth.

The following website discusses common codes and policies regarding ethics in research. Ethics in Research - The Web Center for Social Research Methods - Some of the key terminology associated with research ethics are described on this site, as well as a brief history of ethical considerations in research. Ethics in Research and Publication - This website is a comprehensive set of resources that are helpful in learning examining and learning about ethical issues in research. The site contains webcasts, PDFs, examples, links to other sites and numerous other resources.

It covers a broad range of topics including plagiarism, conflict of interest, scientific misconduct, and many other topics relating to research ethics. Ethics in Research - There are many ethical considerations when conducting research. This presentation defines and describes various types of ethical misconduct and gives examples.

What is an IRB and its Purpose? What is the purpose of an IRB and how does a researcher know when they need to use it? Ethics Video Series - This series of eight YouTube videos looks at all types of ethical considerations relating to research and publishing.

This pin will expire , on Change. This pin never expires. Select an expiration date. Ethical considerations are those that pertain to moral values and decision-making at the individual or societal levels.

They can affect a large number of different types of communities, ranging from those involved in health care, government, business, religion and even social media. Ethical considerations can thus involve activities as diverse as information disclosure, research practices, ecological awareness and better business. Ethical questions of any nature are largely philosophical; hence, they can differ depending on the person holding them.

However, general terms cast ethics as the philosophically driven effort to find the best way of living, not only to create personal happiness but to limit the discomfort or harm done others. Thus ethical considerations influence many decisions, including information delivery. For example, the Australian Law Reform Commission suggests that improperly or inconsiderately releasing genetic information regarding disease can be profoundly damaging.

Therefore, the autonomy of the person involved, along with their need and wish to know their genetic susceptibilities, must be ethically considered by health professionals.

In cases of primary academic research, Purdue University emphasizes gaining the consent of test subjects as a paramount ethical consideration, particularly if law and practice determine it necessary.

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Identify ethical considerations. Describe the purpose of the the Institutional Review Board. List and explain the ethical issues that must be considered when using human subjects. Ethical considerations in research are critical. Ethics are the norms or standards for conduct that distinguish between right and wrong.

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Ethical Considerations can be specified as one of the most important parts of the research. Dissertations may even be doomed to failure if this part is missing. According to Bryman and Bell () [1] the following ten points represent the most important principles related to ethical considerations in dissertations.

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ETHICAL RESEARCH USING ANIMALS Why Use Animals in Research? ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS IN RESEARCH 4 ethical researchers do not present the work of others as their own, or do not fail to give appropriate credit for the work of others through citations. Institutional Approval. In any case, a course in research ethics can be useful in helping to prevent deviations from norms even if it does not prevent misconduct. Education in research ethics is can help people get a better understanding of ethical standards, policies, and issues and improve ethical judgment and decision making.

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Ethical Considerations in Social Work Research with Multiracial Individuals Kelly F. Jackson, MSW, PhD, social work’s ethical obligation to develop Wardle, ). Unfortunately social work research efforts to understand the identity of this diverse group have been minimal. This is discerning since the. Research ethics are the set of ethics that govern how scientific and other research is performed at research institutions such as universities, and how it is disseminated. This page explains more about research ethics, and how you can ensure that your research is .