Who’s watching the Watchdog?
Who’s watching the Watchdog?
What ethical issue is at the heart of the article?
The ethical issue at the heart of the article is the Common Rules. The Common Rules govern the ethical practice for researchers using participants. Sometimes the guidelines are unclear and not entirely effective in protecting patients in research studies. “Current trends in research and it’s regulation continue to erode the requirement of consent, while the level of acceptable risk has been elevated to the extent some have described the minimum risk as being upwardly mobile” (Alvino, p. 903). This problem has emerged in the last decade because of a paradigm shift in research toward an access model of therapy. This ethical shift has reduced patient privacy and rights (Alvino, 2003). Research projects have grown increasingly large, outpacing the Institutional Review Board’s (IRB) ability to effectively monitor these studies (Christensen, Johnson, & Turner, 2011). Why is this issue important to the conduct of research?
This issue is critically important to the conduct of research. If stringent regulations and effective oversights are not established then, research participants are placed at risk of physical or mental harm. Research is the foundation for discovery of medicine, technology, and the various other aspects that expand knowledge and growth. Mankind must constantly conduct research experiments to implode the boundaries for the empowerment of a better quality of life. What problems might arise if this issue were not addressed by a researcher? If this issue were not addressed by a researcher, then considerable health risks to participants could increasingly occur. In the case of Jesse Gelsinger, researchers did not disqualify him, protocol was not followed, and ethical guidelines blurred (Alvino, 2003). If research trials continue to erode clinical rules then it could have an impact on the public’s faith on the entirety of the research process and future studies would be compromised. Ultimately, this could result in society’s increasing unwillingness to fund and support research projects that could advance human health. How is this issue relevant to researchers in your discipline? This issue is relevant to researchers in my discipline because my discipline regularly incorporates research participants. My plan is to become a college professor, consult, and research business practices. College courses are constantly evolving, and textbooks updated to include current research or historical data. Students cannot be prepared for future careers based on outdated data, for example; a doctor treating a patient for a disease by bloodletting. Another analogy to consider is teaching math to students and stopping at basic algebra because no one challenged the boundaries of math. How do researchers in your discipline address this issue?
Researchers in my discipline address this issue by maintaining discipline-specific ethical standards that help contribute to increased safety and patient privacy. Researchers in multiple disciplines have lobbied for changes to the current regulations. For instance, Emanuel and Menikoff (2011) indicated that IRB resources should be focused on studies that contain the highest degree of risk. IRB is one of the hurdles of a doctoral student. Ethics is the foundation for teaching and research professionals. Ethical behavior is constantly at the forefront of a teacher (Valentine & Kidwell, 2008). Teachers must set an example for students to follow. What are your thoughts on how this ethical issue might affect your conduct as a researcher? As a researcher, recognizing this issue exists directly affects me. The knowledge that a current gap in the system exists shifts the ethical obligations from the government to me. While in many instances, one can rely on the government to provide an effective regulatory framework, in this instance, it is my responsibility to improve participant’s safety and privacy. The scholar, practitioner, and leadership journey will not be of value without ethics. The investment in time and money will be for naught unless scrutiny continues to expand and encapsulate the existing gap. This case study enriched my perspective on ethics and my responsibilities as a researcher. The moral obligations in ethical research encompass a vast array of rules, guidelines, and perceived obligations. Participant’s expectations must be maintained to the best of my ability. The integrity of research data and expansion of knowledge relies on the ethical behavior in which it was extracted.
Alvino, L. A. (2003). Who's watching the watchdogs? Responding to the erosion of research ethics by enforcing promises. Columbia Law Review, 103(4), 893. Bernabe, R. D. L. C., van Thiel, G.,J.M.W., Raaijmakers, J. A. M., & van Delden, J.,J.M. (2012). The risk-benefit task of research ethics committees: An evaluation of current approaches and the need to incorporate decision studies methods. BMC Medical Ethics, 13, 6. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1472-6939-13-6 Christensen, L. B., Johnson, R. B., & Turner, L. A. (2011). Research methods, design, and analysis (11 ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. Dagaz, M., & Harger, B. (2011). Race, gender, and research: Implications for teaching from depictions of professors in popular film, 1985-2005. Teaching Sociology, 39(3), 274-289. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/907551714?accountid=35812 Emanuel, E. J., & Menikoff, J. (2011). Reforming the regulations governing research with
human subjects. New England Journal of Medicine, 365(12), 1145-1150. Valentine, S., & Kidwell, R. E. (2008). Business students' ethical evaluations of faculty misconduct. Quality Assurance in Education, 16(3), 287-300. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/09684880810886286