A fun warm-up activity for a human research ethics professional development workshop might be asking small groups to do some matching and then discuss the answers as a group.
Obviously, rather than animals that have been operated on suffer, they are humanely euthanised, but as shown in this Don Mayne cartoon, it is fun to imagine retired lab rats in a nursing home compare the severity of the surgical procedures they endured.
Smartphones are now widely used and have infected many areas of everyday life. For researchers, one of their impacts is that potential research participants can seek timely advice from their peers and the wider community. Social media can provide them with access to very large volumes of input. Some of which will not be helpful for a pr0ject’s design and goals. This is something that needs to be considered, which would not have been an issue in the recent past.
This week’s item is more sad than funny. It is an unfortunate truth that as consultants we experience too often that institutions have continued for a while with poor practice, resisted research and resisted change. It is also unfortunately true that often someone within the institution has advocated for change and senior management will only consider making that change if an external consultant says exactly the same thing to them. We are aware that us making this observation probably undercuts our own income stream but institutions should definitely collect and analyse data and comments about their own practice and be welcoming of internal suggestions for change.
.Cartoon by Don Mayne www.researchcartoons.com Full-size image for printing (right mouse click and save file)
There is a good reason why research ethics reviewers ask about where a consent strategy will be conducted, who will be administering the consent process and whether any implicate coercion will be used. Hopefully, no one would ever use organised crime thugs to administer their consent strategy, in an isolated room and at least the impression that violence would follow if potential participants don’t ‘sign’. That notwithstanding, part of you has to chuckle at Don Mayne’s conceit here.
It is important to remember that our policies about incentives/reimbursements/compensation, as well as our review feedback, can result in researchers using language that they think is clever but to the rest of us just sounds odd. In Australia, the National Statement does allow for incentives, especially for research that involves no greater than a low risk of harm. Hopefully, your institution has produced useful resource material to help researchers interpret and understand the provisions in the National Statement.
. Cartoon by Don Mayne www.researchcartoons.com Full-size image for printing (right mouse click and save file)