Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Research Ethics and Contributions to Knowledge

Last week, I completed the TCPS 2: CORE ethics tutorial for another class:  It tied in very well with the readings for this week – the tutorial is comprised of eight modules that discuss various aspects of research ethics, with a quiz at the end of each, so in a way it was like another reading for this class. Many of the same issues were covered in the ethics tutorial as in our readings and in class today, but I especially appreciated how this tutorial clearly broke down the main components of research ethics: risks and benefits, consent, privacy and confidentiality, fairness and equity, and avoiding conflict of interest.

I've never really had to prepare for an ethics review, but as we write our proposals and read about ethics this week, I've been thinking that being forced to spell out the ethical implications of your research in each of these areas is not only important from a moral standpoint but also helpful for thinking through the research itself. It especially forces you to really consider the contribution to knowledge of your research. As I'm writing the contribution to knowledge section of my proposal, I'm thinking about exactly what the risks and benefits are, and having a bit more background knowledge about research ethics is helping me articulate them more clearly.

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