Bioethics Blogs

Why is Felice Levine satisfied?

Inside Higher Ed reports that Felice J. Levine, executive director of the American Educational Research Association, is happy with the final rule. I’m curious about why; it doesn’t seem to give her anything she asked for in 2011.

[Scott Jaschik, “U.S. Issues Final Version of ‘Common Rule’ on Research Involving Humans,” Inside Higher Ed, January 19, 2017.]

[Edited at 11:12AM to mention the normal educational practices in penultimate paragraph.]

Here’s Scott Jaschik’s reporting on social science reactions to the final rule:

Early reactions from social science groups to the changes in the common rule were positive. Various provisions suggest that institutional review boards, which must review proposals to study humans, work to understand the needs of different kinds of researchers, and that there are different levels of risk associated with taking an experimental drug and answering confidential survey questions.

A statement from Felice J. Levine, executive director of the American Educational Research Association, said, “The revised regulations definitely show the care and hard work that went into this extensive effort to modernize the common rule. An open process that began in July 2011 has led in January 2017 to regulations that are more nuanced and that far better align human research protection and social and behavioral science research, taking into consideration level of risk and benefits. It is a fine outcome for research participants and for human science.”

For anthropology, the reaction was more mixed. Anthropologists pushed hard for specific mention of “participant observation” (a key tool of their discipline). The hope is that mention of this methodology will make it easier for institutional review boards to approve projects involving this approach.

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.