Compromising EthicsPosted: December 1, 2012
When talking about research ethics, I cannot help but think about the flip side of the situation: how many research pursuits have been compromised in order to comply with research ethic guidelines. I imagine that there have been many instances where the parameters of one’s area of inquiry, research questions, and/or methodology have had to be reconceptualised in order to correlate to what is considered to be acceptable practices. As such, the findings of such research may not reach the ideal conclusions. While I am not opposed to adherences to ethical practices, and very much believe that they need to be in place to protect the best interest of participants, I am left asking whether, for certain kinds of experimental/controversial/cutting edge research practices, safeguarding the parties involved have, perhaps, thwarted serious breakthroughs. On a more utilitarian/Machiavellian note, might potentially compromising a few be worthwhile if the benefits to the whole cannot be otherwise surmountable? This is a very scary line insofar as humanity is then viewed and treated as a means, which begs the larger question: to what end?