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Deliverable Length: 300-500 words
Ethics in Research
Choose one example of unethical research:
• Summarize the research.
• Explain why the research was unethical.
• Explain what changes (if any) in research resulted.
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Organizational Problems in the Workplace
Write 1 research question or hypothesis regarding organizational problems in the workplace.
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Ethics in Research
Part One: Ethics in Research
There are rules and guidelines for almost everything that involves other individuals or the use of equipment that could have a potential impact on humans. This is the reason why ethics in research comes in. Ethics refers to the moral principles and guidelines that have to be followed or considered before an experiment or research of any kind is conducted. Ethical considerations in research include informed consent, anonymity, confidentiality and risk of harm. They have to be critically considered before any research is undertaken. In the Tuskegee research, which was conducted between 1932 and 1972, unethical decisions were made, paving the way for far-reaching changes in the way ethical issues in research were approached in future.
Conducted by the United States Public Health Service (USPHS), the Tuskegee research was a study of untreated syphilis using 400 African-American men from Macon County, Alabama (Bates & Harris, 2004). These participants were already infected with syphilis at the time of the experiment, while an additional uninfected 200 were used as the control group. The infected men believed they were receiving treatment for ‘bad blood’, a term that was used by African-Americans for any disease they did not understand. In the early 1950s when Penicillin was declared an efficient treatment for syphilis, the treatment was not used on the infected men in order to enable the researchers to observe the effects of prolonged syphilis on human health.
Many issues made this Tuskegee research unethical, among them informed consent and the withholding of treatment for research purposes (Angell, 1997). In this case, informed consent refers to a permission form of sorts that is signed after the subject in question is made fully aware of all the consequences of being part of a research. The 400 men that were used for this research were misled into thinking they were being treated when in reality they were not. Moreover, they were not informed about the research until it was too late for most of them. Additionally, even after the evaluation and certification of the use of penicillin as a treatment for syphilis, the USPHS still withheld the treatment so that they could see the effects of the disease. In other words, they withheld the treatment for research purposes.
In research studies involving human subjects, some participants may survive while othes may not. During the course of the Tuskegee research, 28 of the 400 males died directly of syphilis and 101 from related complications while 111 survived (Shavers, Lynch & Burmeister, 2000). In 1972, the experiment was finally ethically analyzed by the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) who decided to stop it altogether. Consequently, a National Research Act was passed in 1974 that created the Institutional Review Board (IRB) which was supposed to review all research studies involving human subjects.
The Tuskegee research is just one among hundreds of unethical research studies that have been conducted in the United States over a period of over 80 years. Unethical research is not limited to human subjects; it can involve animal subjects as well. While animals can be considered expendable by some researchers, there are still rules of ethical practice for guiding research studies involving animals. Every researcher or research institution ought to understand the implications of scientific studies before conducting them. It took 40 years before the Tuskegee research was halted, and this did not have to be the case for such a blatantly unethical study.
Part Two: Organizational Problems in the Workplace
Research question: Women in high positions: Does the participation of women in high positions harm the organization or women as individuals, and are the views biased?
Angell, M. (1997). The ethics of clinical research in the Third World. New England journal of medicine, 337, 847-848.
Bates, B. R., & Harris, T. M. (2004). The Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis and public perceptions of biomedical research: a focus group study. Journal of the National Medical Association, 96(8), 1051.
Shavers, V. L., Lynch, C. F., & Burmeister, L. F. (2000). Knowledge of the Tuskegee study and its impact on the willingness to participate in medical research studies. Journal of the National Medical Association, 92(12), 563.
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