Research Ethics for Children as Subjects

666 Words3 Pages
Research Ethics for Children as Human Subjects The opening chapter by Ann Farrell introduces historical and contemporary theories of ethics and informed consent concerning children as research subjects. The three ethical principles of respect, benefit, and justice are presented against a backdrop of an emergent 'risk society'. Respect requires researchers to treat human subjects, including children, as independent individuals capable of understanding enough of the research to make an informed decision about whether to participate. The principle of benefit requires research study designs to expect to produce value for some segment of society without causing unacceptable harm to the research subjects. Finally, the principle of justice implies that research subjects participating in a study should have the same social, economic, and racial standing in society as those expected to benefit from the research in the future. In other words, poverty-stricken children should not be exploited in research studies intended to benefit children of the ruling elite. Farrell further discusses the current struggle between different ethical camps within research fields. The ethics theories discussed are utilitarian, rights, virtues, and principles, and the benefits and drawbacks of each are mentioned briefly. For example, the theory of principles argue that ethical guidelines for human subjects research cannot rely on guidelines alone, but must further involve a desire to act ethically at
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