Congratulations to the
13 Public Anthropology Award Winners
at the University of Nevada, Reno
in Prof. Mikaela Rogozen-Soltar's
ANTH 101 (Introduction to Cultural Anthropology)


MacKenzi McQuide, Kayla Murray, Kaitlyn Jacobson, Hallie Taylor, Madison Spiegel, Samuel Bergevin, Laura Contreras, Wyatt Williams, Michelle Vernier, Brittany Russ, Jinan Barghouti, Gunnar Wambaugh and Joshua Gingras

(To Read Their Op-Eds, Please Use Your Search Function)

Topic the Students Wrote On:

Based on the information presented in the five case studies, you are to voice your view on how Institutional Review Boards (in the U.S.) and/or Review Ethics Boards (in Canada) should enforce a set of common rules regarding research. How much freedom should researchers be allowed in conducting their research? What regulations should be enforced to prevent the abuse of research subjects and ensure, more generally,
that the research strives to promote positive benefits for the
larger society sponsoring it?


The Right Balance
by MacKenzi McQuide

Laws exist for a reason. Every regulation, act, decree, and commandment was established to remedy some ailment the plagued whatever institution that passed it. But what happens when that law gets in its own way, and the redtape becomes so thick it becomes nearly impossible to navigate?

Following the Second World War, researchers conducted a number of questionable studies on the impoverished, the degenerate, or the ill-informed. One of the most perverse examples is the case when healthy prostitutes and prisoners in Guatemala were deliberately infected with venereal diseases to put the preventative powers of penicillin to the test. The subjects were not told they were participating in the experiment, and antibiotics where only prescribed in 76% of the experimental group. As a result, 83 people died.

Seeing a case such as this, it is not only logical, but morally responsible that governments and universities created Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) to examine each proposed study to decide whether or not it was ethical. Since then ethical and moral issues involved in human study have been discussed in the public and academic arena, eliciting a number of benefits. IRBs have helped to prevent potential projects that could compromise moral law. That being said, there comes a point when the IRB stops serving as a guardian of human rights, and begins to unjustly curtail a researchers ability to research.

For one, many social scientists like sociologist Laurie Essig fear that too many restrictions and precautions made by IRBs may hamper the effectiveness of fieldwork. Fieldwork is a very personal research method where the researcher may spend hours upon hours of talking to a person or a group of people to better understand their daily lives. It does not involve manipulating an aspect of people's lives, and oftentimes strives to alter their daily routine as little as possible. In other words, it is not an experiment. If people are simply discussing various aspects of their sociocultural and personal lives, and it is not part of an experiment, why are the same restrictions imposed? Granted, a signature form does help protect their confidentiality, but many researchers have not been able to do fieldwork involving certain "vulnerable populations" like prisoners, pregnant women, and the mentally ill. One researcher was even prohibited from talking to adolescents to learn more about their sexuality. These limitations may poise as protecting these "vulnerable populations", but in truth, they just deny the opportunity to learn more about these groups. This in turn blocks the benefits from gaining such knowledge like facilitating public acceptance of the group and helping to improve that group's lives.

In addition to the unfair judgment of fieldwork, according to Laura Stark in an interview, many IRBs examine the researchers spelling and grammar in the study proposal. It is argued that this somehow demonstrates how capable the researcher is of executing the study. This is a gross exaggeration on their part. Some typos are practically inevitable when writing a paper; no human is perfect. In what way does my ability to put a comma in its proper place determine if I am "trustworthy" of implementing the study? Grammatical errors should have no, or virtually no, part in whether or not a project gets approved.

Though IRBs have good intentions, they need to modify their methods and criteria. I would suggest possibly lighter restrictions on fieldwork proposals while maintaining the same limitations on experiments. Also, there should be a standard code for what is and isn't ethically acceptable among IRBs from multiple institutions in order to establish some continuity (which there seems to be lacking). Finally, writing errors should be removed as a criterion of judgment with almost no exceptions. IRBs are an important part of maintaining the ethical integrity of a study, but they need to find a way to release their grip the slightest bit so researchers can continue to gather information aimed at improving the human condition.


Do No Harm
by Kayla Murray

Medical research is changing the lives of people all over the globe every day. Researchers are developing new, cutting edge treatment methods that are saving lives and pushing medicine to new heights. However, all of this new research needs to be clinically tested. In the papers presented to us we read of horrible crimes against humanity, specifically in the 1940s. These horrific crimes show us very clearly that action must be taken to ensure researchers are not putting science ahead of human health.

I don't know about you, but I had never heard of the Guatemala Syphilis Experiment before I read it today. Wow, let me tell you I was stunned. When I thought of medical experiments Nazi Germany came to mind, and to hear the United States was just as guilty of these acts before the National Research Act came to be made me sick. Establishing firm laws to protect human beings is crucial. Experiments can, and have in the past, killed people. Government regulation is needed to prevent Frankenstein experiments from going down in the first place.

Physicians take an oath to "do no harm" and I believe experimenters should be held to the same oath. Clinical trials and experimental surgeries should be performed only after significant findings have proved to be effective. Experiments should never be crap shoots where experimenters don't have a specific goal or highly researched treatment plan. I also do not believe that patients should be compensated for their participation in studies. This would eliminate desperate people signing up for studies just for the money, without any regard for their own health.

When researchers wish to conduct experiments, they should always be required to go through a review process before anything can take place. Freedom should be limited to studies that will benefit those involved, no matter what the circumstance. Abuse of subjects should have a zero tolerance policy, and any projects discovered to be violating rules should be delivered a life ban, as well as jail time. Everyday people trust their physicians and researchers to do what is best for them, and we owe it to our subjects to protect them.

As a society, we need to push for strict government regulation of research methods. We've seen the results of no regulation, and we need to make a point to not let it get lost in history. "Do not harm" should be the single underlying rule to follow when conducting research.


A Need for Boundaries
by Kaitlyn Jacobson

Is there such thing as too much freedom when it comes to research? That's what the Institutional Review Board (IRB) is here for. Often, researchers make the argument that the IRB "kills" the possibility for fieldwork by making anonymous research subjects sign documents. Filling out a stack of paperwork about your personal information and putting your signature on it doesn't feel very anonymous. We can all agree that this procedure is contradictory, but when it comes down to it, the IRB is essential for the safety of research subjects. If the IRB didn't exist, we may still have researchers conducting unethical experiments on children, or administering mental patients syphilis. The job of the IRB is to prevent abuse and make sure the peoples being researched are fully informed and have given their consent. Sure, the IRB does tend to get under researchers skin; nobody likes having someone breathing down their neck to make sure they're following each and every rule. However, our history has proved our need for boundaries in research.

The real question is: What's enough and what's too much? Making patients feel uncomfortable and unsure of their actual anonymity should not be something the IRB is performing. But, is it a situation where it's better safe than sorry? Although the paperwork may make the research participant weary, the IRB has valid points as to why this is necessary. Their main concern is to make sure that all research subjects are fully informed on what they are participating in. They are protecting people, and they need paperwork and proof of participation in order to insure the safety of the people involved.

The IRB prevents unethical research, such as the Guatemala Syphilis experiment. In this study, doctors purposefully infected non-consenting, healthy prisoners and mental patients with syphilis in order to test the effects of penicillin on venereal diseases. Although the objective was to test penicillin and its affects on syphilis, only 26% of the research subjects were documented as having completed the treatment. This particular study resulted in 83 deaths. Prisoners and mental patients weren't the only exploited population. Experiments were also performed on malnourished school children who were deemed ideal subjects for studies of diets and vitamins. We all agree that testing on humans without their consent is unethical and just plain wrong. But, we can't assume that all researchers are conducting evil experiments on unknowing, innocent people, right? This is where the IRB is especially important. Their job is to determine if a researcher is trustworthy and if their research appears legitimate and beneficent. After all, the research that was performed on the diets of the malnourished school children ended up being reported as "not very helpful".

The IRB has an important job to perform. They need to know what's happening and who's involved. This procedure has inevitably saved lives. As brought up by "Inside Higher Education", the IRB's attention was drawn to a specific researcher because he misspelled "principal". Although it does seem a little ridiculous, their intentions are good. Can you really trust somebody who makes basic grammatical errors in their studies? How detail oriented can a researcher be if he's too busy to spell check? Whether you can base how trustworthy someone is off of their grammatical accuracy, or not, the IRB take their job very seriously. It is our safety, after all.

Although researchers may get frustrated with the IRB constantly watching their every move, it is necessary. Documenting what research is being performed and who is participating is important to the safety of all involved. In spite of everything, their job is to keep everyone safe and to decide, "who ought to receive the benefits of research and who should bear its burdens". We need to have some form of authority to let us know our boundaries. No one likes being told "no", or having every move they make criticized, but when it comes to the safety of research subjects, the IRB is indispensable.


The Institutional Review Board, Going too Far?
by Hallie Taylor

Anthropology is unique in such that anyone, anthropologist and non-anthropologist alike, can take the skills and lessons learned by research and apply it to their own society to create a change. Since the Institutional Review Board was established, anthropologists have been forced to work inside strict guidelines and requirements. Anthropology has not yet reached its full potential, and how can we expect it to, when the government regulations are breathing down the neck of anthropological research? Anthropological research can teach mankind so many things, and in order for this science to reach its full and unparalleled potential, the Institutional Review Board and the Review Ethics Board must decrease the amount of its current regulation.

The IRB's current regulations are shutting down the ability to effectively talk with people through interviews in research studies. Iterated by Laurie Essig in her essay, "The IRB and the Future of Fieldwork", the IRB is treating talking to people as the same as experimenting on them. She argues that how will a field researcher talk to people to understand their life experiences if this is the case (Essig, 2011)? If this current downward spiral continues, Anthropology will be unable to push through and do the good it has the potential to do. Basic interviews are the basis for good research and for understanding the diversity and communication between cultures.

The Institutional Review Board is also hindering research by being unorganized and too strict. Shown by Mitch Smith in his article, "Inside Higher Education", the 18 different IRBs around the country had very different responses to the same proposal (Smith, 2012). This shows inevitable inconsistencies and room for interpretation of the rules by board members. This creates serious inefficiencies that can delay projects. Also articulated by Smith is the fact that something as minute as a spelling error or an incorrect use of a word, is a factor in whether a researcher's project will be cleared or derailed.

Some skeptics say that less regulation will cause history to repeat itself and something like the Guatemalan Syphilis Experiment will happen again. This experiment happened in the 1940's when there were no regulations at all. This essay is not arguing to abolish the Institutional Review Board completely, but to let up on the current restrictions. Enough regulations will still be enforced to stop something like what happened in Guatemala from occurring again.

The requirement, "Risks to subjects are minimized..." should be less constricting. If one intends to keep identities of the interviewees anonymous, do not make them sign a waiver in which they have to write their full name. Stated by Essig, "People love it when you offer them anonymity and then ask for a signature. Really makes them want to open up to you" (Essig, 2011). On the other hand the requirement, "Informed consent will be sought from each prospective subject," should remain the same. This ensures that subjects know what they are participating in and they have given their permission to participate.

In order for Anthropology to successfully better the world, the restrictions placed on research by the Institutional Review Board must be loosened. These constricting regulations are paving way a path in which field work is completely abolished. If anthropologists had more freedom in their research, new developments and ideas would surface. This would allow for the full potential of Anthropology to change the world.


The Institutional Review Board:
Freedom to Research or Freedom to be Ruthless?
by Madison Spiegel

In a world of ever changing medicine and breakthroughs, we as a society are responsible for keeping ourselves informed about the newest findings and research. However, one preventing factor that many are unaware of is the Institutional Review Board and the Review Ethics Board, both of which are the forces that have the power to refuse or accept research projects and proposals. When looked at on a deeper level however, the IRB, whose main priority is to protect human subjects from physical or psychological harm, usually are the main benefactors to both physical and psychological issues. Supported by the five case studies given, it is apparent that the IRB allows the majority of failed research projects to be dismissed, rather than brought to the attention of society. In order to limit the number of casualties due to research attempts, the IRB and the Review Ethics Board should enforce a third party jury system that operates similar to a jury in court, where regular citizens have the opportunity to weigh in on the decision to begin research on a subject that might be considered unjust, and should also begin a waiver system that forces the IRB and the Review Ethics Board to only be able to conduct tests on those who volunteer.

For decades, companies have tested their products and theories on human beings, often without consent from those being tested on, resulting in thousands of casualties due to tests gone bad every year. The regard for human life has often taken second place to research as proved by the case studies provided. The IRB�s sole purpose is to protect the people from harmful tests and products with their ability to accept or deny access to testing. So why have there been so many failed attempts at preventing the abuse of research subjects? In Case Study One, World War II brought forward a terrifying case of the ignorance of the IRB, when the United States Public Health Service physician John Charles Cutler enacted the Tuskegee syphilis experiment. It is extremely hard to fathom that the IRB truly looked at the entirety of the experiment before allowing it, purely based on the objective of infecting prisoners with syphilis and only giving treatment to a small percentage of the victims, just to test out adequate penicillin therapy. The IRB could have prevented the 83 deaths by simply paying more attention to the proposal. If the issue was proposed in modern times, the idea of having a third party jury would work to benefit the test because if the details were disclosed, it would be easy to come up with an alternative method to testing the penicillin. The researchers that conducted the study were given too much freedom because they were not being closely watched by the IRB, who easily could have halted the project. Another example of inhumane treatment for the purpose of research is highlighted in Case Study Five, which brings up the hidden facts about Canadian government policy towards aboriginals immediately after the second world war. The tests took malnourished aboriginal children in Canada and gave one group vitamin, iron and iodine supplements, and not the other group. This could have been prevented by the Review Ethics Boards, but was not because of the freedom given to the researchers by the board. By simply creating a vote or enacting a waiver system, the children that were left to starve could have been saved.

Overall, the freedom given to the cause of research has lead to more harm than good. We as a society lend so much trust in the government to make the best decisions for us as a whole, and experiments like Case Study One and Case Study Five create a distrust in both the IRB and Review Ethics Board. The fact that our current president has publically apologized for an act that happened more than 60 years ago shows that things are changing and that we are more aware of the research that is being conducted, but does not excuse the reality of our general lack of knowledge in the research field. Society has made strides in becoming informed with simple acts such as refusing to buy products that are tested on animals, or by participating in experimental medical trials that require consent from the patient. Personally, I am extremely aware of the testing on animals, and am conscious of how the product was placed on the shelves. I find it inexcusable to test makeup and hair products on animals because there are several methods that could exclude animals from testing all together, but are not put into action for price reasons. The complete disregard to those who do not have a voice is one of the main issues that has repeated itself in testing history. In the past decade, companies have began using alternative testing methods, and have been able to fund the projects by raising prices of other products. Even with the progress made, the freedom in research is magnified even more now because of the internet. The unlimited, uncensored access to anything and everything has put even more speed bumps in the way of the IRB and the Review Ethics Boards, but by making research projects more public, there is room for consent of the people, which could prevent several more research disasters from occurring, and overall promote a more beneficial research process, rather than American horror stories, brought to the world by the ignorance of simple details.


Individualizing Fieldwork Research
by Samuel Bergevin

History has shown us that past researchers' methods of attaining information were abhorrent, but in this day and age, I claim that people-for the most part-have risen above these crimes against humanity. With each passing generation, our people have developed a better understanding of how the human race is exactly that, a single race of humans. We, as a people of the United States of America, have come to the ultimate conclusion that every life is sacred; therefore, every person must be treated with the same respect that one expects others to treat them. I believe this knowledge empowers anthropologists with the ability to conduct research without causing the harm to subjects that the IRBs expect those anthropologists to produce.

The "Guatemala Syphilis Experiment" as well as the "Subject to Aboriginal Experiments", performed by U.S. doctors and Canadian government bureaucrats, respectively, were undoubtedly unethical studies, but the reader must take notice that these experiments were conducted over sixty years ago. In the modern-day world, such 'research' is appalling and would indefinitely be denied support/funding without a second thought. I believe that these cases should be recognized to identify our faults in the past, so we do not make the same mistake again. However, I don't think that they accurately represent the ideals and morals that the we have presently and shouldn't influence the regulation of research in any way.

In case three, Laurie Essig states, "IRBs have effectively shut down [a field researcher's] ability to actually find out about people's lived experiences and have almost killed fieldwork in the process." Her examples illustrate the difficulties anthropologists come across when interviewing people considered part of the "vulnerable population." Her claim makes it obvious that too much regulation is enforced within studies performed in the United States. Placing rules describing who is allowed to be interviewed on certain subjects and how an interviewee must be treated based on their classification in the vulnerable population is virtually unnecessary depending on the circumstance.

The Criteria for IRB approval of research is admirable. It defines the details of which fieldwork should follow to be credible. However, field research that seems very promising could be rejected because of its slightly illegitimate path. There needs to be ground rules, but we need to look at research like Franz Boas' idea of historical particularism. Every culture needs to be understood on its own terms, and similarly, all fieldwork research needs to be understood in its own context. Therefore, regulations should be modified based on each individual project to better protect the people taking a part of that particular project, as well as provide the best results to promote positive benefits.


We Need To Learn In Order To Move Forward
by Laura Contreras

Anthropology as we know it has changed and shaped the way we see the world around us. It has allowed us to see the world in new ways and understand other cultures and societies that share this planet with us. Although anthropology has strived in helping us connect and understand others, it is being suppressed to some degree as well with all the regulations that are set in place by the Institutional Review Boards. In order to allow for more research prevail, boards need to loosen the reins on regulations.

The 1940's was a dark chapter in humankind's history. Not only was the Holocaust going on at this time but in other parts of the world, people were the subjects to very cruel experiments. In both Guatemala and Canada, a numerous amount of people were subjects to experiments without even giving consent. In both cases the experiments that were to test new medicines. In Guatemala, the United States led the experiment and infected Guatemalan soldiers, inmates, prostitutes, and mental patients with syphilis and other STDs. They then gave only a select few the medicine to treat the diseases. In Canada, the Aboriginal experiments were done on malnourished children and adults, in which they divided them into groups and gave some groups vitamins and others nothing to see the impact the vitamins would make. Today's governments have recognized these tragic events and have apologized for them, such as President Obama who apologized to Guatemala for the horrific experiment that the U.S. did on its people. While it may be a very delayed apologize, we have recognized what we have done in the past and acknowledge it so it will not happen again.

Since the 1940's the world has changed drastically, and that is due to the events that have shaped our history and our perceptions of what is right and wrong. We as people have learned from the past, so we will not repeat it. So should not the regulations set by the IRB change? Of course these regulations were created to stop something like that Guatemala experiment and the Aboriginal experiment from ever happening again, but this regulations make it difficult for fieldwork and studies to be done. Laurie Essig discusses the issues she faces while conducting fieldwork due to the regulations set by the IRB. The main one she discusses is the informed consent. Although she tells the participates in her study that they will stay anonymous she has to have them sign a consent form and sign with their legal name. This makes it difficult to obtain information because the participates do not feel comfortable discussing the subject because they do not feel anonymous anymore. I understand the IRB has set these regulations to eliminate disasters from happening but they make it difficult for field workers to gather sufficient information to help understand what is going on in the world around us.

The IRB needs to consider revising the regulations they have created because they make it extremely difficult for field workers to even conduct studies. I understand that they are trying to save themselves from having a tragedy on their hands and protect the wellbeing of others, but without certain studies we cannot solve issues that are going on in societies throughout the world. Also the IRB is able to deny a study brought to them that poses a threat or endangers the lives of people. In the case of Laurie Essig's study with cosmetic surgery patients though they should not have too many regulations with her collecting data from these participates. Or they should consider creating different regulations for fieldworkers and those who conduct experiments. Though, we cannot predict what will happen during a study, if we do not move forward with them we will not progress and learn.


An Agape Mankind: A Balance of Ethics and Freedom
by Wyatt Williams

The Ancient Greeks named the concept of loving your fellow man as being agape. This is something that anthropologists embrace, as they study and love mankind. In order to attain agape, I agree that researchers who study man should have set of rules and enforcements in order to protect the well-being of others. That being said, it can only be true that those who set the limits for researchers must also have limits as well.

The Institutional Review Board was established to keep past human research mistakes from happening again. The Guatemala syphilis experiments, a United States led project which tested antibiotics on syphilis-infected prisoners, is an example of researchers going too far. During this trial, prisoners were either injected with the disease or by paying infected prostitutes to sleep with healthy prisoners or mental patients. The researchers then watched the effects of penicillin, yet did not administer complete treatments resulting in 83 deaths. This crime against humanity is the reason researchers need a board of ethics in order to ensure the ethical treatment of human research participants.

It took the United States seventy years to apologize for this mistake, and this apology would have been avoided if only the IRB had been in place. If a researcher has the ability to freely experiment, then deaths occur. In order to achieve true agape, researchers need to think about the consequences of their actions, and if necessary, attain approval from a non biased board.

We have seen researchers go too far in experiments, but is the situation ever reversed?
The IRB can go too far by limiting a researcher on too many grounds. The IRB set a limit on people that are known as "vulnerable populations" and researchers cannot accurately discuss topics with these groups of people because they are protected. This is where the IRB goes too far. A researcher needs to talk to subjects in order to acquire information about them, their culture, issues, and other facts that are necessary. If an IRB restricts this simple interaction then progress will not be seen. The IRB is implemented to protect the well-being of subjects and should look for key factors in an experiment such as: Is it ethical? Does it infringe on the subjects privacy? And, did the subject give consent for the experiment or conversation? If the experiment or conversation meets these regulations then it isn't necessary to have the term "vulnerable population" and a scientist should be able to conduct research on the topic.

Institutional Review Boards are crucial for keeping scientists in line from conducting experiments that can harm human beings. The Review Boards should not restrict general research as long as the research meets criteria that make the exchange ethical. If scientists and Review Boards can meet in the middle then research and experiments will remain safe, ethical, and beneficent. Agape, love for one's fellow man, means safe research and understanding for the greater good of the person and the world.


Pushing the Limits Or Setting Boundaries?
by Michelle Vernier

In the United States we have the Institutional Review Board, also known as the IRB and can be associated with the Review Ethics Board. To start off, let us delve into the meaning of what this board does and how it affects the United States. The IRB deals with medical and health related issues that fall into the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and along with that the research of behavior of humans. In this particular case, case three, the author is passionate about how nowadays the IRB claims to be protecting humans from unethical research. Through this, it makes it hard to acquire and develop anthropological fieldwork.

Stories from the author's personal experience and the knowledge of experience with people she knew were shared with a very biased opinion that I had to take a step back and see if I was supposed to feel as passionate about the allowance, or lack there of, of fieldwork as she was. She shared how the IRB wanted her to deal with vulnerable populations of transgenders and how the IRB has classified them as mentally ill suffering from Gender Identity Disorder. The author met with the transgender patients, and her opinion was when she "encountered that no one interviewed [she] identified as having a mental illness and [she] did not wish to force labels onto them." She then suggested from a sociological perspective that everyone has issues with their gender, the IRB said she should make a "plan for dealing with "those people's mental illness" or forget [working on the] project."

Another story was the she was told by the IRB to "get cosmetic surgery patients to sign permission slips" when she spoke to them even though the interviews were supposed to be anonymous. The things they say would be altered in a different way to protect their identity. She jokes and says "you can imagine what it was like" asking if she could ask them a few anonymous questions about what they dislike about their body and then proceed to ask them to give you their signature. It was strange to me that the IRB would force her to get the signatures when they were told that they would be anonymous.

After reading this article, I felt more aware of my freedom from the IRB when it comes to research of humans in the United States. My opinion for the IRB is that if the human is fully willing to allow someone to research and do fieldwork on him or her, why should it matter? The IRB is important in some aspects but they should not have say in the way researchers go about their particular fieldwork. Especially in the case of the transgender and how the IRB classified them into mental illness, they had no right doing that. As far as the freedom of the researcher, that all depends on the subjects, or people, of the cases.


Do No Harm
by Brittany Russ

Imagine yourself as one of the many experimented on during the Guatemala Syphilis Experiment. Your life as you knew it had now drastically changed for the worse. You have now been infected with syphilis, a sexually transmitted disease caused by a bacterium. The most sickening part of it all, is that you had no knowledge prior to being infected. The disease you were infected by has the potential to kill you. Where are your rights? Where is your say? Where is your protection? I completely agree and support the idea that a set of common rules regarding research should be enforce. Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) are needed. For the sake of humanity, rules and regulations should be in place whenever research is being done on humans.

The principles emphasized in The Belmont Report are a strong basis for what the rules should be enforcing. The first basic principle is respect. I believe that throughout the experiment the subject must always be treated as a human being. The researches must bare in mind that the person they are studying in no less than them. The second principle is beneficence baring the main idea of "do no harm". I believe that this principle is the most important. The subject must never be harmed during an experiment. The third principle is justice. In previous experiments, people who were more vulnerable than the rest of the population were chosen to bare the burdens of the research. In the Tuskegee syphilis study, rural black men were the ones who bared the burden of being infected and not treated. These three main principles are absolutely needed.

Looking at the criteria for IRB approval of an experiment or research, most of the principles seem to be understandable and needed. The first and second requirements stating that all risks to subjects are minimized and risks to subjects are reasonable in relation tho anticipated benefits, should always be enforced. It is morally right to protect the subjects. They are human too and deserve to be protected. I don't believe that researchers should be allowed any freedom to change the principle of do no harm. I also agree that the third principle should be enforced mainly to be able to acquire research without bias. The third principle states that the selection of subjects is equitable. The subjects in the Guatemala Syphilis Experiment and the Tuskegee syphilis study were not equitable. The subjects were the weak and vulnerable in society becoming easy targets for a disgustingly natured experiment. I believe the subjects in a study must be chosen from society with all humans having equal chance of being chosen. This will allow the study to eliminate bias within the subjects. The second most important principles of the IRB are the fourth and fifth principles. Informed consent must always been given by the subjects. I believe no matter what the experiment or study is the subjects involved must always give consent. To acknowledge the consent, I agree that the consent given by the subject must be documented in some way. The idea of confidentiality of the research does not bother me as much. I think that confidentiality does not need to be enforced on research as much as the safety of the subject. I believe that the principles give a good set list of what rules should be enforced during research.

I believe that the overall main rule that should be enforced always in any research is the safety of the subjects during the research. The subjects should always be treated with respect and protected. No harm should be done onto the subjects. There should be no freedom to the researchers in changing that. The second main rule that should be enforced is that all subjects included in the research must always give consent and that consent must be documented. No subject should be involved in research without knowledge or consent of it. I believe that research is a big part of growing as a society but it should never be at the expense of causing harm to other humans. We are all the same species, and we should all be treated with respect. I believe that by enforcing rules, the research will ultimately be safe for all.


Ethics and Research
by Jinan Barghouti

I think we can all agree that crimes against humanity need to stop, and that some horrific things have happened in the past that we as fellow humans should never repeat. We can also agree that there should be a system of rules and guidelines in place to prevent such acts from happening again. I believe that the Institutional Review Board and the Canadian Research Ethics Board are too strict to carry out fieldwork, they create biases when accepting or declining cases based on grammar, and with their guidelines of vulnerable populations they segregate populations who may benefit from the studies.

The Institutional Review Board (IRB) doesn't allow you to collect data appropriately for field work. The idea of carrying out research in an ethical way can still be done with respect to persons, beneficence and justice without hindering the research itself. In case two the excavator did what was expected of her as far as ethics and cultural boundaries. The report suggests that Archaeologist Heather McKillop was likely aware that the bones were not from the tribe of which she had gotten permission to excavate from. It wasn't until after the bones were excavated could they have studied them to find out whether or not they were the bones of the Huron-Wendtat tribe. Archaeologists are meant to do their job, and that is excavating bones, studying them, and finding out their identity. Culturally, it would seem from the point of view of the tribe of the assumed ancestry that this was unethical treatment of the bones. Yes it may have been in bad taste to not have notified the tribe whose supposed remains were excavated. I wonder if they were approached before hand, being shown the benefits of what the studies and research would hold, if they would feel the same about it.

When you give a group of people the power to say what study receives approval and what study doesn't you are giving them the ability to bend the ideas of society. In case four, the idea that applicants are being turned away for grammar errors is preposterous. What if the applicants first language isn't English? This suggests that they are discriminating against ESL speakers. What if the proposal was written in a different dialect or using colloquial vocabulary in attempt to convey realism? It would then be up to their discretion to pass the study or not, solely based on the fact that the person sounds educated. What constitutes as educated? What does this have to do with ethics and the equal treatment of humans? I completely disagree with the idea that committees of people are basing their opinions of a study based on a typo.

Case three, highlighting vulnerable populations shows exactly how individualistic their ideals are. The idea that they would label transgender a vulnerable population takes a step back when we are trying to move forward. It's as if they are excluding Trans people from the general population. With so much curiosity around their lifestyle and culture it would be counterproductive to label them a vulnerable population halting all studies which in turn can benefit the Trans population.

With the cases we read I don't see the benefit from the IRB anymore. I truly believe its original purpose was legitimate, however somewhere between fighting for human rights and turning down potentially monumental research for one typo, it loses its true purpose. I propose a better more humanistic oriented type of committee rather than one which is creating the biases it should be standing against.


Limitations on Mankind
by Gunnar Wambaugh

In the modern age, we as a people are faced with many regulations. Regulations which have helped further the rights of mankind, but many which have even hindered human progress. Is there a limit to regulations on further research, or should people research with no limitations? The answer is simple: people should have limitations on research, but only to a limited degree.

We live in an age where we have many limitations on our research, and it has seen to hinder our human advancements. The IRB has set standards, better known as "ethical principles" that researchers can follow. These principles require researches to respect their subjects, not harm their subjects, and to be just. With these standards, there can be infringements on causing harm to anyone.

However, as history has shown us, there has been many injustices in fieldwork. In 1946 to 1948 the horrid experiences of the Guatemalan Syphilis Experiment occurred. This involved inhumane acts of scientific studies on prisoners who were coaxed into getting syphilis, and some were left to die, just to see what would happen. In this case one would argue we need more regulations today to make sure that we do not repeat history. As President Obama stated there was no statute of limitations for the violation of human rights in that particular line of research. In 1946 there was no law against this, but this was 28 years prior the foundation of the IRB, and the three ethical principles. Furthermore, the IRB has already set the standards we need, we do not need more.

When we as a people get too many regulations we hinder our own progress. Today, as seen in case three, we have so many limitations, that researchers can hardly get the support they need to conduct an experiment. Researches have to get their patients to sign waivers for anonymous data collections. I know that in my life whenever someone wishes for me to take an anonymous survey, I will refuse if they ask for my name and information. Requiring private information causes people to be nervous in their responses, even to the point where they lie on to avoid rejection. This is not how you conduct research. How can we as a people advance if we are too limited to even understand ourselves?

Having an understanding is essential to human advancement. In modern research in the excavation of bones requires that the nation's people must be consulted before development begins in areas where there may be burial grounds, and if they there are disturbed graves they must alert the nation. If one follows all these laws there should not be any problem. Now, in the case of Heather McKillop, she was given the "Okay" by the nation, and followed all legal procedures. However, she is accused of taking these bones unlawfully because she was "likely" to have been aware that the bones she excavated were ancestors of Huron-Wendat. Now, the the assumption of something does not prove that she did know the bones descendants. Accusing someone of an assumption is no valid argument for a prosecution. Killop followed the law, and the ethic principles set by the IRB, there is no proof that killop broke the law. On top of that Killop was excavating so she could help further the knowledge of the people on their ancestors by creating museums to honor the cultures past. Is helping the further advancement of knowledge of a dead culture considered a crime when no one is hurt in any shape or form? Moreover, there is no need to create extra laws to uphold the law when there are no infringements on the established regulations of excavation.

Injustices in history do happen, and laws are created to battle them. There is a definitive line on how much research we need and do not need. Furthermore, as a people the last thing we need are laws which limit our futures. We have already won the battles in our nation to fight against injustices. We do not need to create needless walls to inhibit our human advancements. The world is changing, and has been for the better. Lets not as a people allow us to hinder that growth by cutting ourselves short of progress.


Ethics Review Boards: Sound or Suspect?
by Joshua Gingras

In recent times, the general population of researchers have shown that they cannot always be trusted to conduct morally sound experiments. Therefore, Review Boards have been established to monitor the conduct of research and insure subjects are respected, protected, informed of the experiment of which they are partaking, and that they consent to said research. However, review boards are often over critical of experiments that may be considered controversial and have made it extremely difficult to expand scientific knowledge in some areas. This sort of tug-of-war for power over experimentation has led to outcries for less regulation and backlashes of denial. The solution to me is simple; make the review board a group of fellow researchers and leave the final decision up to participants of the experiments.

If the review board is set up like jury duty, fellow researchers that are un-biased and not in a position of power over other researchers can make a fair decision on whether the research crosses moral boundaries or not. The problem with the review boards now is that their job is to find problems within experiments. They get paid to shut research down and tell people they can't do things, so instead of losing their job for letting an experiment happen, they will look for anything and everything that isn't morally or socially acceptable to say the experiment as a whole isn't acceptable. If fellow researchers conducted reviews, a sounder conclusion could be drawn about the morals and methods of an experiment because they aren't trying to shut the experiment down and they aren't in a position of power over the experimenter.

Also there is no need for a tax- payer funded review board if research is conducted based on permission of the subject. A review board was put in place to protect people from shady experimenters and hidden factors in experiments they participate in but if the law states experimenters have to tell participants everything beofrehand then there wouldn't be a problem. As long as the participant in the study is fully informed of the study and fully aware of the consequences, the experiment may continue if consent is given. This may seem surprising, but in my eyes people have the right to do whatever they'd like with their own body. If they want to enter an experiment to better knowledge for the scientific community then let them. If they are down on their luck and are willing to risk themselves for compensation in order to help us better scientific knowledge then there's no reason not to.

Bottom line; research being conducted needs to be morally sound, fully informative to its participants, and not harmful. This can be decieded by laws and fellow researcher commities, but America was founded on freedom and it's not necessary or okay to have an institution take away peoples right to research. If a participant is aware of the all the possibilities and consequences of an experiment and they give their consent, then ultimately no one has the right to tell them they cannot proceed.