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ResourcesHuman Research EthicsSome Social Scientists Are Tired of Asking for Permission – The New York Times (Kate Murphy | May 2017)

Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Some Social Scientists Are Tired of Asking for Permission – The New York Times (Kate Murphy | May 2017)

 


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Sometimes a change to national policy isn’t enough to alter institutional practice – especially when that practice has been entrenched for a few decades and is wrapped in institutional risk. This New York Times story highlights why there’s so much chatter around the change to the US ‘Common Rule’.

If you took Psychology 101 in college, you probably had to enroll in an experiment to fulfill a course requirement or to get extra credit. Students are the usual subjects in social science research — made to play games, fill out questionnaires, look at pictures and otherwise provide data points for their professors’ investigations into human behavior, cognition and perception.
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But who gets to decide whether the experimental protocol — what subjects are asked to do and disclose — is appropriate and ethical? That question has been roiling the academic community since the Department of Health and Human Services’s Office for Human Research Protections revised its rules in January.
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The revision exempts from oversight studies involving “benign behavioral interventions.” This was welcome news to economists, psychologists and sociologists who have long complained that they need not receive as much scrutiny as, say, a medical researcher.
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