This excellent open access paper reflects upon the theoretical underpinnings of the research ethics reviews conducted by research ethics committees. It encourages committees to hold a mirror up to their deliberations. For Gary (he trained to be an English teacher), it called to mind one of his favourite quotes from Hamlet “This above all: to thine own self be true”.
Ethical decision-making is inherent to the research ethics committee (REC) deliberation process. While ethical codes, regulations, and research standards are indispensable in guiding this process, decision-making is nonetheless susceptible to nonrational factors that can undermined the quality, consistency, and perceived fairness REC decisions. In this paper I identify biases and heuristics (i.e., nonrational factors) that are known to influence the reasoning processes among the general population and various professions alike. I suggest that such factors will inevitably arise within the REC review process. To help mitigate this potential, I propose an interventive questioning process that can be used by RECs to identify and minimize the influence of the nonrational factors most likely to impact REC judgment and decision-making.
Research ethics, research ethics committees, heuristics, decision making, nonrational factors, biases
Nuttgens, S. (2021) Identifying and addressing nonrational processes in REB ethical decision-making. Research Ethics. 17(3):328-345. doi:10.1177/1747016121994011
Publisher (Open Access): https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1747016121994011\