Why Ethics is Important
We are concerned with normative ethics, asking questions such as: What should morality require? How should researchers behave? How should researchers not behave? What character traits should researchers cultivate as virtues? And, what character traits should researchers try to avoid?
There are many advantages to understanding research ethics. Concepts of research ethics:
Definition of "Benefit"
- Provide us with a structure for analysis and decision-making.
- Support and remind researchers to protect human subjects.
- Provide workable definitions of benefits and risks, along with guidelines for evaluating and balancing the benefits and risks of our studies
A benefit is the positive value or advantage of being part of the research study. This value or advantage might be concrete for individual subjects, like a greater chance of having a good therapeutic outcome. Alternatively, it might be more intangible and general. For example, the results from a study could be crucial to understanding the underlying socioeconomic causes of drug addiction.
Definition of "Risk"
Risks generally are evaluated according to the probability and magnitude of any harm that might occur. Will the risk occur in almost all subjects or in only one of 10,000 subjects? We can also quantify risk according to