Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Research Ethics and Generalizability

     On February 21, I attended the Research Ethics in the Social Sciences & Humanities workshop, presented by Dr. Dean Sharpe of the University of Toronto (U of T) Office of Research Ethics. In this workshop, I learned that in the U.S. legislation governing research ethics, the word "generalizable" is included in the definition of the type of research that be reviewed by an ethics professionals. In the Canadian guidelines (Canada has no legislation on research ethics), research does not have to be generalizable. The inclusion of the word “generalizable” in the U.S. legislative definition must have deep implications for the types of research that are required to be given an ethics review in U.S., as compared to the research projects that require a review in Canada. However, I am not sure what those implications are. For example, does the absence of the need for generalizability in the Canadian definition mean that there is more non-generalizable research conducted in Canada than in the U.S.?

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