Respect for research subjects: Reality or rhetoric?

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Title: Respect for research subjects: Reality or rhetoric?
Author: Amy Lynn McGuire
Abstract: The National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research (National Commission ) identified respect for persons as one of three fundamental ethical principles for research in its Belmont Report in 1979 . Since then , the moral obligation to respect research subjects has been interpreted primarily in terms of respect for individual autonomy . It is my thesis that respect for research subjects requires more than simply respecting subjects’ autonomy . This dissertation examines the ethics of respect for research subjects from a historical , conceptual , and policy perspective . The purpose of this dissertation is to rehabilitate the concept of respect in research ethics and policy and to begin a meaningful dialogue about the ethics of respect for research subjects . \r \n I begin with a historical analysis of research ethics , focusing on the history of disrespect for research subjects . I argue that the National Commission was responding to this history of disrespect when it identified respect for persons as a guiding ethical principle for research . Despite the effort of several commissioners to develop a more robust notion of respect , I contend that the language used in the National Commission’s Belmont Report left an impoverished impression of what is required to respect research subjects . This has permeated the subsequent bioethics literature and has misinformed the ethics and policy of research . \r \n This dissertation calls for reflective dialogue about the ethical duty of respect in the context of human subjects research . I seek to initiate the conversation by developing a multidimensional account of respect as an overarching normative categorty for research . I use the work of several prominent bioethicists who have struggled to gain a deeper appreciation of what it means to respect others as a foundation for a broader conceptualization of respect for research subjects . Finally , I examine several policy implications of taking respect seriously in the context of human subjects research and propose three recommendations for how a more robust interpretation of the ethical duty of respect can inform research ethics and policy .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /2152 .3 /263
Date: 2004-11-03

Citation

Respect for research subjects: Reality or rhetoric?. Doctoral dissertation, The University of Texas Medical Branch. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /2152 .3 /263 .

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