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ResourcesHuman Research EthicsThe Role of Intuition in Risk/Benefit Decision-Making in Human Subjects Research (Papers: David B. Resnik | June 2016)

Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

The Role of Intuition in Risk/Benefit Decision-Making in Human Subjects Research (Papers: David B. Resnik | June 2016)

 


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ABSTRACT
One of the key principles of ethical research involving human subjects is that the risks of research to should be acceptable in relation to expected benefits. Institutional review board (IRB) members often rely on intuition to make risk/benefit decisions concerning proposed human studies. Some have objected to using intuition to make these decisions because intuition is unreliable and biased and lacks transparency. In this article, I examine the role of intuition in IRB risk/benefit decision-making and argue that there are practical and philosophical limits to our ability to reduce our reliance on intuition in this process. The fact that IRB risk/benefit decision-making involves intuition need not imply that it is hopelessly subjective or biased, however, since there are strategies that IRBs can employ to improve their decisions, such as using empirical data to estimate the probability of potential harms and benefits, developing classification systems to guide the evaluation of harms and benefits, and engaging in moral reasoning concerning the acceptability of risks.

KEYWORDS:
Benefits, human subjects research, institutional review boards, intuition, reasoning, risks

Resnik DB (2016) The Role of Intuition in Risk/Benefit Decision-Making in Human Subjects Research. Accountability in Research
Policies and Quality Assurance 24(1)
Publisher: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08989621.2016.1198978



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