The article under analysis is called Questionable Requirement for Consent in Observational Research in Psychiatry and is dedicated to the evaluation of informed consent both as an ethically acceptable condition for research and as a cornerstone for reaching the accuracy and validity of the studies. Therefore, the scholars argue that the ethical dilemma can be solved through a combination of prior knowledge and observational methodology that can elucidate the researcher’s fallibility. Due to the fact that an observational study is premised on the analysis of the results and findings obtained from the natural setting, the necessity to receive informed consent from the patients can lessen the reliability of the obtained data. Therefore, the scholars introduce an alternative solution to the case to avoid the problem. In particular, the research offers a more flexible outlook on the scientific exploration that should be engaged in the non-compliance stage.
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The main strength of the study lies in the development of a unique, efficient theoretical framework that will allow the scientists both to eliminate the informed consent stage and to ensure a respectful attitude to the patients. The main factors of privacy protection could be provided in an alternative way. In particular, the assessed committees propose to present new methods of information processing and exchange during the research that is based on the researchers’ duty to observe confidentiality.
Despite the strengths of introducing a new observation approach to the three case studies, there are a number of weaknesses. In particular, due to the fact that there are a limited number of cases that point to the unreliability of informed consent, observational research could not be criticized heavily in this matter. In addition, the alternative methods presuppose ignoring the main principles of informed consent and introducing a more flexible option that broadens the sense of agreement between the scholar and the participant. However, such an approach does not satisfy entirely ethical concerns of the research.
While investigating the issue, the researchers have been concerned with the objectivity and validity of the responses they receive from the patients. However, informed consent already constitutes an obstacle to the identified purpose. Because avoidance of the established relationship between informed consent and research practices is impossible, the researchers have outlined more situation-oriented solutions that are not subject to specific principles. The absence of rules and approaches has not provided the scholars with precise outcomes and contingencies.
As a support to the above-presented rationale for mixed method, the scholars note, “Researchers reflectivity is connected to their consciousness of how they create themselves through interaction with the field in which they are conducting research” (Hem et al. 2007, p. 51). Therefore, the acceptance that the relationship between the scholar and the participants is considered subjective contradicts the principle of researchers’ neutrality.
With regard to the above-presented deliberations, it should be stressed that observational research design is frequently used in health promotion. It has a number of benefits in terms of costs and objectivity (Crosby et al. 2011, p. 108). Therefore, the article at issue is justified concerning the selected methodology because it allows to gain quick access to samples and information, as well as receive the pertinent results.
In conclusion, the article focuses on an alternative view on observational studies and how they can be practiced without informal consent. The researchers have examined three case studies to define that a mixed approach to a health care environment provides a new vision of how a therapeutic competence can be used.
Crosby, R., DiClemente R., & Salazar, L (2011). Research Methods in Health Promotion. US: John Willey & Sons.
Hem, M. H., Heggen, K., & Ruyter, K. W. (2007). Questionable Requirement for Consent in Observational Research in Psychiatry. Nursing Ethics 14 (1), 41-53.