After listening to the lecture today, I can’t help but think how much time and thought needs to go into ethics with regard to human subjects. Before listening to this lecture, I knew research ethics was a big deal (for things such as emotionally unstable people, etc.), but I never realized how much of a big deal it really is!! One of the comments that shocked me most was when Dean Sharpe was discussing the encryption of servers to keep information confidential. It’s as though having the information held in a safe place just isn’t enough.
Another thing that was very interesting to me that I took from Dean Sharpe’s presentation is that with regard to informed consent, you need to articulate that it’s NOT a contract. If I hadn’t listened to this lecture, I would have assumed that informed consent is indeed similar to a contract. However, the human subject needs to be explained that they can withdraw from the study at any given time, and they’re not obliged to participate until the end. This seems to be rather important when conducting research on human subjects, as it would make them (at least I believe it would) make them feel much more comfortable giving the researcher their consent to participate in the study.
I’m interested in hearing what you guys thought was interesting information given by Dean Sharpe, did any of you also find some of this information extremely surprising?