This week’s CITI training was edifying and introduced me to unknown perspective for importance of ethical principles in research proposals and process. As I do not possess any prior experience in social research outside of the classroom, this training and this week’s chapter was absolutely illuminating. In my opinion, the CITI training is extension to content in this week’s chapter ‘Research Ethics and Research Proposals’ of the textbook. Both chapter and training advocate for the same important ethical principles and methodological concepts. In the backdrop of egregious malpractices in research like Milgram’s obedience experiment, Nuremberg war crime trials and Tuskegee study of untreated syphilis in the Negro male, the Belmont Report was developed by U.S. National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research. The basic ethical principles in this report are respect for persons, beneficence, and justice. There are 13 training modules in CITI training, each one deals with different focuses on how human research subjects are not harmed or at risk during research process in detail.
The Institutional Review Board (IRB) plays a significant role in the review process of the research proposal. By reviewing research proposals they aim at protecting rights and welfare of the human research subjects involved in the research. As federal regulation states, any biomedical research that seeks federal funding, undergoes review by Institutional Review Board. After the CITI training; I realized how much planning goes into designing a research proposal as IRB have several regulations for different subparts. Each of these subparts have their own exemptions and additional protections which protect vulnerable research subject like pregnant women, children, prisoners, human fetuses, and neonates. On the other hand, I also learned through training that, expedited reviews are allowed when certain requirements are met and when research subjects are prone to minimal risk. However, these reviews follow the basic principles defined by Belmont Report. CITI training also outlines the requirements for researchers to convey potential risks and harms to subjects which may occur during research process.
IRB identifies risks associated with research, such as invasion of privacy, deception and infringement of confidentiality. It also explains the debriefing procedures which can be employed to provide information about the research (in some cases this information is not provided at the time of the subject research consent). Regardless of how many regulations are in the place to protect the research subjects, sometimes researchers are faced with difficult situations which may demand onerous decisions. For instance, in the situations where compensating subjects can lead to pressure on subjects to participate, the monetary benefit may take over subject’s willingness to participate. Also, if the compensation offered is significant to the research subject, it will hinder with their ability to respond honestly and precisely, as incentives would hold more importance than decision of participating in the research.
When dealing with children as research subject the parental consent is required, however, in some cases IRB allows waiver of parental consent, under certain circumstances where the criteria for the waiver is met. Nonetheless, in case of ‘passive parental consent’ there is no resistance (no reply) from parents for their children to participate in research study, but, it’s also not solid ‘yes’. In such cases, depending on type of research, for example, if research doesn’t pose any harm or risk to children, it can be continued. Later, when the research is reached its conclusion, parents can be informed of the findings. On the other hand, if the research involves more than minimal risk and doesn’t abide by basic regulations and principles given by IRB research should be discontinued. Also, to assure the wellbeing of children, the permission of authority such as dean should be required in such cases to avoid exposing children to any harm that the research may cause. The dean/principal of the school can assess and review the research proposal and weigh the risks involved with it which can ultimately decrease the chances of children being exposed to risks.
Overall, this training has been really helpful for me to understand important and necessary terms related to the ethics and regulations. The CITI training enhances knowledge gained from reading textbook chapter. As a potential researcher, this training gave me an idea of always keeping these ethics and principles handy while designing the research project and how to treat human subject involved in my research, especially those who are vulnerable to more risk and harm. Also, since CITI training needs to be renewed every two years, I will be able to examine and scrutinize if I am able to follow all the basic principles for protection of human subject research. I really appreciate this opportunity.
Schutt, R. K. (2004). Investigating the social world: The process and practice of research. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Pine Forge Press.