In the past, many scientific experiments were unethical in relation to the subjects who took part in them. However, there are currently principles that are established in the Belmont report that ensure the fairness, respect, and benefit of the experiments for all participants (SciShow, 2016). Even under these conditions, ethical behavior in conducting research must be based on the principles of moral reasoning (Coughlin, 2006). Regardless of the application of principle-based approaches or case-based approaches, researchers need to consider as many facts as possible to identify and address the moral controversy. It is currently not acceptable to conduct unethical experiments and research for the benefit of public health. Even when moral conditions limit the acquisition of knowledge, it is necessary to take them into account and build a research design based on ethical principles or the context of a particular case.
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In order to comply with ethical principles and achieve the common public good, it is necessary to seek a balance between public and individual values. In particular, to achieve such a difficult task, researchers need to identify ethical issues and use moral reasoning to solve them. There are several approaches to integrating moral aspects into scientific and medical research (Coughlin, 2006). However, in order to strike a balance, the overarching goal in the form of the common good and practical constraints in the form of ethical concerns must be paramount. In other words, the study or experiment should be designed, taking into account the individual values of the participants as one of the constraints. While this aspect suggests that lesser results could be achieved within the research, ethical considerations should not be ignored. Thus, the balance consists in finding the optimal solution to satisfy both individual and public values, which are often a compromise.
Coughlin, S. S. (2006). Ethical issues in epidemiologic research and public health practice. Emerging Themes in Epidemiology, 3(16), 1-10. Web.
SciShow. (2016). 5 psychology experiments you couldn’t do today. YouTube. Web.