How do we produce data ethically?

Graduate: 2/17
Undergraduate: 2/18



Gathering facts to guide our inquiry is generally not so easy as “look and see.” Data must be produced or constructed in interaction with the world, according to certain methods or techniques. Those techniques must be honest and rigorous. In many types of research, human or animal research subjects may be the main sources of data. These research subjects have interests that must be protected. They must be protected from certain undue harms. Medical trials can only go forward when treatment and control meet the principle of equipoise. Human subjects must give their informed consent before agreeing to take part in research.

It is not only science and medicine that involve research on human subjects. Engineering and design, even if they do not conduct formal experiments, conduct research on human subjects in the form of beta testers, focus groups, and customer feedback. Consider the recent prominence of A/B testing for products on the web. Don’t many of the same ethical considerations apply here as to any human subjects research?

Leave a Reply