Other Influences on Research

Research ethics committees. How do they function? What are their effects on research participants, investigators, science and society?

Other institutional influences on the research process. The policies and practices of the larger institution in which research occurs set the tone and control the practices of researchers at least as much as the research ethics committee. What are the dynamics of these processes? What are effective methods for studying these sequestered processes and their effects on the ethical and scientific environment within the institution?

Perceptions that influence research and ethical problem solving. How do the perceptions of one another among the stakeholders in research influence scientific, ethical and regulatory decisions?

Questionable, taboo and controversial topics of research. Should research be done that might violate social norms, cause social harm, produce misleading findings, or be used in a politically harmful way? There are many perspectives on most such questions, and political correctness does not resolve these questions in the long run. What are effects of studying such questions?

Scientific integrity and responsibility. What kinds of scientific misconduct may occur? What conditions surround misconduct? What conditions enable individual scientists to act with integrity and responsibility to prevent scientific misconduct?

Ethics and politics. Charges of scientific irresponsibility or immorality may mask profound political differences. Issues of whom the investigator works for, who sponsors the research, and how the data are used raise ethical and political questions that are difficult to separate from one another. Case studies and analytic methods may provide useful insight into such questions.

Government and agency regulations and policies. Governments at national, state and local levels, as well as scientific and professional societies and funding agencies, enact regulations or policies governing human research. While these may be well-intended and appear straight-forward, they are subject to diverse interpretations, and may have untoward and unanticipated side effects. What are the effects of regulations and policies on research, including the effects of regulations in other countries and on animal research? How can empirical evidence influence the regulatory process?

Human-Research Literacy. The public and members of the news and entertainment media need information that builds understanding of and trust in clinical, biomedical, behavioral and social research. What kinds of information are most useful within each of these four areas of human research? What kinds of research, or research issues, undercut public trust? What kinds of literacy and illiteracy have been fostered? What approaches to popularization are effective in building understanding and trust? What kinds of human research protections systems or mechanisms support public trust?

  • Print This Page
  • Bookmark and Share