Bioethics Blogs

Discovering research ethics scales and measures

by Celia B. Fisher, PhD, and Elizabeth Yuko, PhD, Fordham University Center for Ethics Education

Conducting empirical research on research ethics can be daunting. It requires thinking beyond the ethics of a treatment, procedure, or new technology to considerations involving the scientific validity, social value, and potential ethical challenges of the research process itself. Nonetheless, ongoing evidence-based research is crucial for the advancement and improvement of the responsible conduct of research.

The Fordham University Center for Ethics Education, in partnership with the Fordham HIV and Drug Abuse Prevention Research Ethics Training Institute, has addressed the need for resources in this area through the creation of the Research Ethics Scales and Measures website. The site was developed with the intention of encouraging empirical research on research ethics by providing researchers with existing scales and measures—quantitative tools such as questionnaires and surveys—they can utilize or adapt in their own research.

This continuously updated evidence-based research ethics resource includes an extensive index of scales and measures for investigators who wish to study all aspects of research ethics, including consent capacities of vulnerable populations, participant perspectives on research risks and benefits, attitudes toward and challenges facing IRB protocol evaluations, and the effectiveness and challenges of community engaged research.

The site also contains an extensive bibliography of methodological approaches to conducting empirical research on research ethics. Users may search for measures by content area keywords (e.g., monetary compensation, or motivation to participate) or by method (e.g., evaluations, interviews, questionnaires or vignettes).

As the only comprehensive source of its kind, Research Ethics Scales and Measures website has received national attention.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.