Ethical Intersections: Health Research, Methods, and Researcher Responsibility

Ethical Intersections: Health Research, Methods, and Researcher Responsibility

Ethical Intersections: Health Research, Methods, and Researcher Responsibility

Ethical Intersections: Health Research, Methods, and Researcher Responsibility

Excerpt

The rise of bioethics as a discipline has been rapid (Fox, 1990: 203-4), and has been accompanied by changes in its focus, with the expansion first of biomedical research, then of health services research. Our experience as health researchers has persuaded us that bioethics has not been of as much benefit to the researcher as it might have been. Of particular concern has been the tendency of institutional ethics committees to judge research proposals according to abstract ethical principles which researchers have found to be simplistic, inappropriate or irrelevant. Researchers, we believe, have their own local knowledges about how best to conduct responsible ethical research, but these are fluid, tentative and dependent on specific contexts and discourses. The justification for this book is to take stock of developments in the ethics of health research over the past 30 years from the perspective of the researcher in the field.

The essays presented here do not encompass all current debates in bioethics. Rather, it is our intention to give the stage to researchers some of whom have never before formally considered the ethics of research practice. Papers have been selected to demonstrate the care which many researchers in various local contexts bring to the task of ensuring that their research is ethically sound, an issue easily overlooked in a simplistic regulatory process.

ETHICS AND HEALTH RESEARCH

Medical science and public health as an arm of the welfare state, both products of the last century, have had only a short time to reflect upon and to evolve their ethical positions. Clinical ethics, on the other hand, codified by Hippocrates and modified by Judaeo-Christian beliefs and . . .

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