The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (Bioethics Commission) has posted to Bioethics.gov a new series of educational modules on research design. The materials on research design increase the breadth of topics covered by the Bioethics Commission’s educational resources. Previous topics include privacy, community engagement, compensation for research-related injury, informed consent, and vulnerable populations. The new series includes both a background module, and a module to accompany the Bioethics Commission’s Gray Matters: Integrative Approaches for Neuroscience, Ethics, and Society (Gray Matters, Vol. 1).
The Research Design Background module provides a brief introduction to research design; relates research design to guiding ethical principles; describes practical and ethical considerations in research design generally; identifies design components and ethical considerations in randomized controlled trails for biomedical research with human participants specifically; and explains the relevant regulatory requirements and guidelines that promote ethical research design.
The Research Design in Gray Matters: Integrative Approaches for Neuroscience, Ethics, and Society module emphasizes the importance of integrating ethics early and explicitly throughout the research endeavor, including in the determination of research design; explains how foundational domains of ethical conduct support ethical research design; and provides examples of approaches to ethics integration in neuroscience research design.
All of the educational modules produced by the Bioethics Commission are based on the contemporary ethical issues addressed by the Commission, and are designed to provide instructors with foundational information, ethical analysis, discussion questions, problem-based learning scenarios, exercises, and additional resources to support ethics education and the integration of bioethical analysis into coursework across disciplines.