Ethics Session 1: Introduction to Ethics

Instructors

Jennifer Alvidrez, Bill McConnell

Aim

Developing knowledge of the basic principles for conducting ethical research with human participants and identifying key sources of potential ethical conflicts.

Objectives

By the end of this session, participants will:
  1. Understand the basic principles in conducting research with human participants.
  2. Understand the basic principles for the ethical conduct of science.
  3. Understand the importance of taking special precautions in conducting research with vulnerable populations.
  4. Appreciate the possible sources of ethical conflicts in the current environment and strategies for minimizing conflicts.
  5. Understand the reasons for ethical conflicts in academic-community partnerships.

Key Terms

Agenda

  • 10:10-10:50: Definitions of ethics; review of history and current guidelines for ethical treatment of human subjects.
  • 10:50-11:20: Review of concepts and guidelines for the ethical conduct of science.
  • 11:20-12:00: Ethical issues that arise in community-based research; case examples; discussion of current participants’ concerns about their ethical conflict risks.

Readings

Teaching Materials

Supplemental Resources

  • None

Assignments

  1. Prepare a list of the potential ethical conflicts in your current research project and what actions you might take to prevent or alleviate them.
  2. Prepare a list of your personal ideologies or beliefs that might pose a conflict in conducting unbiased and ethical research and indicate how would prevent that from happening.

Summaries of Objectives

  1. Understand the basic principles in conducting research with human participants.
    1. Learn and understand respect for persons, beneficence, and justice.
  2. Understand the basic principles for the ethical conduct of science.
    1. Learn and understand communalism, universalism, disinterestedness, originality, and skepticism.
  3. Understand the importance of taking special precautions in conducting research with vulnerable populations.
    1. Learn and understand the usual precautions needed for minority populations, children, the mentally ill, older persons, and other vulnerable populations.
  4. Appreciate the possible sources of ethical conflicts in the current environment and strategies for minimizing conflicts.
    1. The fellows understand how their personal beliefs and political ideologies might bias the design and conduct of their research.
  5. Understand the reasons for ethical conflicts in academic-community partnerships.
    1. Learn and discuss the differing priorities of these two groups and how this might lead to conflict.

Assessment Data and Learner Feedback

  1. Understand the basic principles in conducting research with human participants.
    1. Be able to explain respect for persons, beneficence, and justice.
  2. Understand the basic principles for the ethical conduct of science.
    1. Be able to explain communalism, universalism, disinterestedness, originality, and skepticism.
  3. Understand the importance of taking special precautions in conducting research with vulnerable populations.
    1. Discuss the precautions needed for minority populations, children, the mentally ill, older persons, and other vulnerable populations.
    2. The fellows apply this principle to their own research by detailing in their protocols the vulnerable populations involved and what precautions they have taken.
  4. Appreciate the possible sources of ethical conflicts in the current environment and strategies for minimizing conflicts.
    1. Detail in writing how their personal beliefs and political ideologies might bias their design and conduct of research and how they have mitigated this effect.
  5. Understand the reasons for ethical conflicts in academic-community partnerships.
    1. Detail in their research protocols what sources of possible conflict are threats to their research and what measures they have taken to minimize these threats.

Teaching Tips/FAQ

It has been shown that a researcher’s personal beliefs or ideologies can adversely influence his or her ability to design and conduct objective research. To gain the most from this session, learners should make an effort to examine what beliefs they hold that may influence their research objectivity.

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