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Changing ethics - Changing perceptions

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Doyle, Z (2011) Changing ethics - Changing perceptions. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

The concept of ethics is something that all researchers must come to terms with every time they consider a study involving humans or animals. Since the Nuremberg Trials, the changing needs of the research community with regards to research design and the recruitment of participants has seen requirements for participation in studies change dramatically with respect to ethical guidelines. The aim of this thesis is to investigate, through well-documented long-term public health cohort studies, how changing perceptions of ethics have impacted on research design and outcomes. The research has been undertaken particularly from an epidemiological point of view as well as in terms of rates of participation. In order to explore the evolution of ethical thinking and its potential effect on long-term longitudinal cohort studies with a public health bias, an iterative search process was employed to determine eligible studies and to extract relevant papers for the literature review. Examination of response rates in the context of the recruitment processes and ethical constructs in place at the time of recruitment was also undertaken. In addition to qualifying the nature of change in the ethical landscape, it is important to note that questions and changes resulting from ethics frameworks and committees may affect both the implementation and interpretation of the proposed work. By establishing this framework of change, the thesis explores and examines the impact of what can be coined as the ―New Ethics Research Environment‖. A retrospective examination of landmark studies with respect to how they may be affected by contemporary guidelines was used to illustrate the influence of the New Ethics Research Environment on large scale cohort studies which impact on health research outcomes at both an international and local level. The significance of this thesis is that it highlights the fact that ethics, as a construct in long-term research, generally has the most impact during recruitment and initial implementation of the study. Ethics, as an evolving concept, does not appear to affect long term studies which do not, themselves, change in scope – that is, those studies with only one cohort and no change in methodology. However, when cohorts are continually recruited, changing ethics and changing perceptions have significantly impacted on cohort selection and methodology both prospectively and retrospectively.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: ethics, epidemiology, cohorts, public health, history, Tasmania, Iodine
Additional Information: Copyright © the Author
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2011 00:31
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 04:26
URI: http://eprints.utas.edu.au/id/eprint/12433
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