Practice Exercises

  1. Pair up with one other student and read the article by John Lacey and others, or another from the Research That Matters vignettes in the preceding two chapters. One of you should criticize the research in terms of its adherence to each of the ethical principles for research on human subjects, as well as for the authors’ apparent honesty, openness, and consideration of social consequences. Be generally negative but not unreasonable in your criticisms. The other one of you should critique the article in the same way but from a generally positive standpoint, defending its adherence to the five guidelines, but without ignoring the study’s weak points. Together, write a summary of the study’s strong and weak points, or conduct a debate in class.
  2. Investigate the standards and operations of your university’s IRB. Review the IRB website, record the composition of the IRB (if indicated), and outline the steps that faculty and students must take to secure IRB approval for human subjects research. In your own words, distinguish the types of research that can be exempted from review, that qualify for expedited review, and that require review by the full board. If possible, identify another student or a faculty member who has had a proposal reviewed by the IRB. Ask him or her to describe the experience and how he or she feels about it. Would you recommend any changes in IRB procedures?
  3.  Complete the Interactive Exercise for Chapter 3.
  4.  Read one article based on research involving human subjects. What ethical issues did the research pose, and how were they resolved? Does it seem that subjects were appropriately protected?