What Subjects Teach: The Everyday Ethics of Human Research

44 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2015  

Rebecca Dresser

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law

Date Written: August 13, 2015

Abstract

In What Patients Teach: The Everyday Ethics of Health Care, Larry Churchill, Joseph Fanning, and David Schenk offer a critique of conventional medical ethics. They contend that ethical codes and principles neglect patients’ experiences and rely too heavily on what professionals, rather than patients, see as ethical care. I believe that many of the points Churchill and his colleagues make about medical ethics apply equally to research ethics.

For the most part, research ethics has developed without serious attention to the views of people who know what it is like to be a research subject. Rather than relying on speculation about the research participant experience, research ethics and oversight ought to rely on what actual participants say about their experiences. Research ethics, as well as regulations intended to promote ethical conduct, should be based on evidence. Ethical and regulatory decisions should take into account participants’ knowledge, as well as their positions on ethical issues in research.

Keywords: human subjects research, biomedical research policy, biomedical research ethics

Suggested Citation

Dresser, Rebecca, What Subjects Teach: The Everyday Ethics of Human Research (August 13, 2015). Wake Forest Law Review, Vol. 50:301, 2015; Washington University in St. Louis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 15-08-01. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2643781

Rebecca Dresser (Contact Author)

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law ( email )

Campus Box 1120
St. Louis, MO 63130
United States

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