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Discussion: Ethical Dimensions of Research Studies

In the best-selling book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Skloot, 2010), the author highlights the true story of an African-American woman who died in 1951 from cervical cancer. What makes her story unique is that prior to her death, cells from her tumor were removed and successfully grown in a petri dish. This was the first time scientists were able to successfully replicate cells outside the body, and it is estimated that billions of Lacks’ cells have been used in medical research. However, Henrietta Lacks was never asked for permission to take a sample and her family was never made aware of the widespread use of her cells. Although the culturing of her cells has been pivotal for advancing research, strong ethical concerns later arose about using these cells without patient or family approval.

This week’s readings describe historical examples of unethical research, such as a study of syphilis among African-American men in which treatment was withheld and a study in which live cancer cells were injected into elderly patients. Today, stricter controls that seek to protect study participants are placed on researchers, but breaches still occur. Careful attention must be given toward preventing unethical behavior. In this Discussion, you explore ethical considerations and issues in research.


To prepare:

Select a current health-related case involving research ethics. (If none come to mind, browse the Internet to familiarize yourself with recent cases.)

As you review the case that you have selected, reflect on the ethical principles discussed in “What Are the Major Ethical Issues in Conducting Research?” article found in this week’s Learning Resources. Which principles were breached in the case you have identified?


Post a description of the case that you selected and the ethical issues involved. Analyze the ethical principles that were breached by the researchers or organizations in your selected case as well as the possible cause of the breach(es). Suggest how the research might have been conducted differently to avoid or minimize the ethical problems. Discuss how research can be done on sensitive issues while still protecting the rights of the research subjects.

Read a selection of your colleagues’ responses.

Respond to at least two of your colleagues on two different days using one or more of the following approaches:

Ask a probing question, substantiated with additional background information, and evidence.

Offer and support an alternative perspective using readings from the classroom or from your own review of the literature in the Walden Library.

Make a suggestion based on additional evidence drawn from readings or after synthesizing multiple postings.


Required Readings

Polit, D. F., & Beck, C. T. (2017). Nursing research: Generating and assessing evidence for nursing practice (10th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer.

Chapter 3, “Key Concepts and Steps in Qualitative and Quantitative Research” (for review)

Chapter 4, “Research Problems, Research Questions, and Hypotheses”

This chapter focuses on the steps in planning a study to generate evidence. These include developing a research question, identifying variables, articulating a problem statement, and generating hypotheses.

Chapter 7, “Ethics in Nursing Research”

In this chapter, the focus is on the ethical dilemmas that occur when planning and conducting research and the ethical principles that have been enacted for protecting study participants.

Fouka, G., & Mantzorou, M. (2011). What are the major ethical issues in conducting research? Is there a conflict between the research ethics and the nature of nursing? Health Science Journal, 5(1), 3–14.

Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

This article describes a literature review conducted to determine the most important ethical issues that nurses encounter when undertaking or participating in research. The authors detail the results of the review and make recommendations for solving some of the problems highlighted.

Newcomb, P. (2010). Evolving fairness in research on human subjects. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, 23(3), 123–124.

Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

In this article, the author describes some of the ethical controversies that may arise in conducting research in human subjects, especially with respect to ownership of genes. The author also stresses the importance of educating research subjects and their families about the ultimate purpose of research.

Yakov, G., Shilo, Y., & Shor, T. (2010). Nurses’ perceptions of ethical issues related to patients’ rights law. Nursing Ethics, 17(4), 501–510.

Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

The authors of this article detail a study conducted to determine how nursing staff deal with ethical issues in relation to the law. The article emphasizes the difficulty staff had in distinguishing between legal and ethical problems. The authors make several recommendations to deal with legal and ethical problems.

Delwiche, F. (2008). Anatomy of a scholarly research presentation in the health sciences. Retrieved from http://dana.uvm.edu/Anatomy/

This presentation highlights the primary components of scholarly research articles. The presentation details the distinguishing factors of scholarly journals, the peer-review process, and the definition of “primary literature.”

American Nurses Association. (2001). Code of ethics for nurses with interpretive statements. Retrieved from http://nursingworld.org/DocumentVault/Ethics-1/Code-of-Ethics-for-Nurses.html

This website provides the code of ethics for nurses to be used in carrying out their responsibilities. There is also a detailed explanation of each provision.

Document: Literature Review Summary Table Template (Word document)

Note: You will use this document to complete the Project throughout this course.

Media

Laureate Education (Producer). (2012a). Anatomy of a research study. Baltimore, MD: Author.

This multimedia piece explains the “anatomy” of both quantitative and qualitative research studies. In addition, there is a brief quiz at the end of the tutorial to measure knowledge about research articles.

Laureate Education (Producer). (2012d). Evidence-based practice and research. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 6 minutes.

In this video, Dr. Marianne Chulay talks about the significance of evidence-based practice and research in nursing. She explains how nurses should apply research findings to health care decisions to improve outcomes.

Accessible player

Laureate Education (Producer). (2012h). Overview of evidence-based practice. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Note:  The approximate length of this media piece is 5 minutes.

In this video, Dr. Kristen Mauk explains evidence-based practice and its importance to nursing. She also provides a brief overview of the process of conducting original research.

Accessible player

Optional Resources

National Institutes of Health Office of Extramural Research. (2011). Protecting human research participants. Retrieved from http://phrp.nihtraining.com/users/login.php

This website provides a course on ethical research for those involved in research in human subjects. The course supplies basic concepts, principles, and issues relevant to protecting research participants.

University of Oxford. (2005). PICO: Formulating an answerable question. Retrieved from http://learntech.physiol.ox.ac.uk/cochrane_tutorial/cochlibd0e84.php

NURS 5052/NURS 6052: ESSENTIALS OF EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE – Discussion 4 (Grading Rubic and Media Attached)
Discussion Rubric   Levels of Achievement Criteria Outstanding Performance Excellent Performance Competent Performance Room for Improvement Poor Performance Content-Main Posting 30 to 30 points -Main posting addresses all criteria with 75% of post exceptional depth and breadth supported by credible references 27 to 29 points -Main posting addresses all criteria with 75% of post exceptional depth and breadth supported by credible references 24 to 26 points Main posting meets expectations. All criteria are addressed with 50% containing good breadth and depth. 21 to 23 points Main posting addresses most of the criteria. One to two criterion are not addressed or superficially addressed. 0 to 20 points Main posting does not address all of criteria, superficially addresses criteria. Two or more criteria are not addressed. Course Requirements and Attendance 20 to 20 points -Responds to two colleagues’ with posts that are reflective, are justified with credible sources, and ask questions that extend the discussion. 18 to 19 points -Responds to two colleagues’ with posts that are reflective, are justified with credible sources, and ask questions that extend the discussion. 16 to 17 points Responds to a minimum of two colleagues’ posts, are reflective, and ask questions that extend the discussion. One post is justified by a credible source. 14 to 15 points Responds to less than two colleagues’ posts. Posts are on topic, may have some depth, or questions. May extend the discussion. No credible sources are cited 0 to 13 points Responds to less than two colleagues’ posts. Posts may not be on topic, lack depth, do not pose questions that extend the discussion Scholarly Writing Quality 30 to 30 points -The main posting clearly addresses the discussion criteria and is written concisely. The main posting is cited with more than two credible references that adhere to the correct format per the APA Manual 6th Edition. No spelling or grammatical errors. ***The use of scholarly sources or real life experiences needs to be included to deepen the discussion and earn points in reply to fellow students. 27 to 29 points -The main posting clearly addresses the discussion criteria and is written concisely. The main posting is cited with more than two credible references that adhere to the correct format per the APA Manual 6th Edition. No spelling or grammatical errors. 24 to 26 points -The main posting clearly addresses the discussion criteria and is written concisely. The main posting is cited with a minimum of two current credible references that adhere to the correct format per the APA Manual 6th Edition. Contains one to two spelling or grammatical errors. 21 to 23 points -The main posting is not clearly addressing the discussion criteria and is not written concisely. The main posting is cited with less than two credible references that may lack credibility and/or do not adhere to the correct format per the APA Manual 6th Edition. Contains more than two spelling or grammatical errors. 0 to 20 points -The main posting is disorganized and has one reference that may lack credibility and does not adhere to the correct format per the APA Manual 6th Edition or has zero credible references. Contains more than two spelling or grammatical errors. Professional CommunicationEffectiveness 20 to 20 points -Communication is professional and respectful to colleagues and response to faculty questions are answered if posed. Provides clear, concise opinions and ideas effectively written in Standard Edited English -Responses posted in the discussion demonstrate effective professional communication through deep reflective discussion which leads to an exchange of ideas and focus on the weekly discussion topic. 18 to 19 points -Communication is professional and respectful to colleagues. -Provides clear, concise opinions and ideas effectively written in Standard Edited English -Responses posted in the discussion demonstrate effective professional communication through deep reflective discussion which leads to an exchange of ideas and focus on the weekly discussion topic . -Responses are cited with at least one credible reference per post and a probing question that extends the discussion. Adheres to the correct format per the APA Manual 6th Edition. No spelling or grammatical errors. 16 to 17 points -Communication is professional and respectful to colleagues. Provides clear, concise opinions and ideas effectively written in Standard Edited English. -Responses posted in the discussion demonstrate effective professional communication through deep reflective discussion which leads to an exchange of ideas and focus on the weekly discussion topic. -Responses are cited with at least one credible and/or contain probing questions that extends the discussion. Adheres to the correct format per the APA Manual 6th Edition. May have one to two spelling or grammatical errors. 14 to 15 points -Communication is professional and respectful to colleagues. Provides opinions that may not be concise or ideas not effectively written in Standard Edited English. -Responses posted in the discussion may lack effective professional communication that does not extend the discussion, leads to an exchange of ideas and/or not focused on the weekly discussion topic. -Responses are not cited and/or do not contain a probing question. May not adhere to the correct format per the APA Manual 6th Edition. May have more than two spelling or grammatical errors. 0 to 13 points -Communication may lack professional tone or be disrespectful to colleagues. Provides opinions that may not be concise or ideas not effectively written in Standard Edited English -Responses posted in the discussion lack effective professional communication through discussion that does not extend the discussion, do not lead to an exchange of ideas and/or not focused on the weekly discussion topic. -Responses are not cited and do not contain a probing question. May not adhere to the correct format per the APA Manual 6th Edition. May have multiple spelling or grammatical errors. Timely Submission 0 to 0 points All criteria met: Initial post submitted on time. Response to two peer initial posts. Response on 3 separate days. -5 to 0 points 5 points deducted for responding to less than two peers or 5 points deducted for responding less than three days -10 to -5 points 5 points deducted for responding to less than two peers and 5 points deducted for responding less than three days -10 to -10 points 10 points deducted for Initial post submitted late -20 to -15 points Initial post submitted late and 5 points deducted for responding to less than two peers and/ or 5 points deducted for responding less than three days