Research and experimentation is usually marked by ethical and moral issues that if not effectively addressed especially before the beginning or during the research and experimentation may lead to controversies and difficulties in using the results for generalization. Ethical tensions are exacerbated when humans are used as test subjects in experimentation and research. Despite the litany of failures, numerous controversies and ethical and moral tensions, human subjects offer better results by allowing researchers to easily establish cause-effects relationships through easy control of variables.
Researchers are usually faced with ethical moments that call for them to balance between professional and personal ethical and moral principles. Ethical tension is even more common today especially with numerous laws and the increasingly sensitive and globalized society (Kapp, 2006). Human test subjects, when ethically and morally handled, offer researchers a platform on which they can easily eliminate unwanted and extraneous variables. This increased ability to control extraneous variables allows for the collection of significantly relevant and accurate data. Therefore, researchers can easily establish the cause-effect relationship of the variables being tested. Ethical handling of human subjects will ensure that the means, methodologies will justify the end of experiments: research data, conclusions and recommendations.
One of the primary arguments against using human subjects is the human error-prone nature of research and experimentation. In addition, manipulation of independent variables is sometimes practically and ethical impossible using human subjects (Perlman, 2004). However, the incorporation of stricter research laws globally and technologies including computer simulations before actual experimentation and research has significantly reduced these errors.
In occlusion, human are important test subjects which offer a deep insight into various variables through better result and easy manipulation of irrelevant variables. However, their use is inherently prone to ethical tensions. By incorporating technologies and implementation of stricter laws, researchers are able to navigate the ethical landscape.
Kapp, M. B. (2006). Ethical and legal issues in research involving human subjects: do you want a piece of me? J Clin Pathol. 59(4): 335–339. doi: 10.1136/jcp.2005.030957
Perlman, D. (2004). “Ethics in clinical research: A history of human subject protections and practical implementation of ethical standards” . Society of Clinical Research Associates.