Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Medical Research Scientists Make Ethical Value Judgments In Research

Date:
May 15, 2007
Source:
Weill Cornell Medical College
Summary:
Medical research scientists in public health and other areas routinely make ethical value judgments, even if they're not aware of it, according to a new study. And not only do these judgments not lead to bias necessarily, but they can actually make for better research.

Medical research scientists in public health and other areas routinely make ethical value judgments, even if they're not aware of it, according to a new Weill Cornell Medical College research study. And not only do these judgments not lead to bias necessarily, but they can make for better research.

Published in the current issue of European Journal of Epidemiology, the paper finds that the framing of the research question, identification of the problem, as well as the design and methodology of the study are all subject to value judgments by investigators.

To illustrate this point, the study focuses on how value judgments are made in epidemiological research of racial health disparities.

"Epidemiologists must endorse particular public policy aims of the research in order to make methodological decisions throughout the research process. In the case of research into racial disparities, the researcher decides how to define race — whether by genetic markers or by census data. Both definitions are valid on their own, but in deciding which one to use, the scientist makes value assumptions about which would best promote the social aims of the research, such as eliminating racial disparities," says Dr. Inmaculada de Melo-Martνn, the study's co-author and associate professor in the Division of Medical Ethics in the Department of Public Health at Weill Cornell Medical College

"Also, scientists make value judgments in deciding which areas of research to pursue. For example, if the recommendations likely to result from additional genetic research are already part of standard medical practice, or if the new drugs resulting from genetic research would likely be too expensive for minority groups, then genetic research may not be the most effective way of trying to decrease racial health disparities," notes Dr. de Melo-Martνn.

"In fact, many medical research scientists make these value judgments without being aware of it — while at the same time wrongly believing any such value-laden decisions automatically lead to bias. In order to change this misperception, we recommend that training in epidemiology and other fields offer some instruction related to the ethical and social dimensions of research," adds Dr. de Melo-Martνn.

"The paper makes a compelling argument for integrating ethical reasoning into epidemiological studies in order to make explicit the value judgments that can distort analysis," says Dr. Joseph J. Fins, chief of the division of medical ethics and professor of medicine and public health at Weill Cornell Medical College.

The study was co-authored by Dr. Kristen K. Intemann of Montana State University in Bozeman, Mont.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Weill Cornell Medical College. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Weill Cornell Medical College. "Medical Research Scientists Make Ethical Value Judgments In Research." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 May 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070514154312.htm>.
Weill Cornell Medical College. (2007, May 15). Medical Research Scientists Make Ethical Value Judgments In Research. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070514154312.htm
Weill Cornell Medical College. "Medical Research Scientists Make Ethical Value Judgments In Research." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070514154312.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) — A new study says children born less than one year and more than five years after a sibling can have an increased risk for autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stopping School Violence

Stopping School Violence

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) — A trauma doctor steps out of the hospital and into the classroom to teach kids how to calmly solve conflicts, avoiding a trip to the ER. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pineal Cysts: Debilitating Pain

Pineal Cysts: Debilitating Pain

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) — A tiny cyst in the brain that can cause debilitating symptoms like chronic headaches and insomnia, and the doctor who performs the delicate surgery to remove them. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Burning Away Brain Tumors

Burning Away Brain Tumors

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) — Doctors are 'cooking' brain tumors. Hear how this new laser-heat procedure cuts down on recovery time. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins