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Ethical and Practical Similarities Between Pedagogical and Clinical Research

    Authors: Rachel L. Robson1,*, Vaughn E. Huckfeldt2
    VIEW AFFILIATIONS HIDE AFFILIATIONS
    Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Morningside College, Sioux City, IA, 51106; 2: Department of Languages, Linguistics and Philosophy, University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD, 57069
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 03 May 2012
    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: Biology Department, Morningside College, 1501 Morningside Avenue, Sioux City, IA 51106. Phone: 712-274-5304. E-mail: robson@morningside.edu.
    • Copyright © 2012 American Society for Microbiology
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2012 vol. 13 no. 1 28-31. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v13i1.360
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    Abstract:

    Clinical research and educational research face similar practical and ethical constraints that impact the rigor of both kinds of studies. Practical constraints facing undergraduate science education research include small sample sizes (largely a result of disproportionate incentives to conduct educational research at small colleges versus large universities), and the impossibility of randomizing individual students to separate arms of a study. Ethical constraints include gaining the informed consent and assuring the confidentiality of study participants, and the requirement of equipoise (i.e., that it is unethical to subject some study participants to an experimental treatment that researchers have good reason to believe to be inferior to another treatment). While these constraints have long been recognized for clinical research, their implications for educational research have not been fully recognized. Criticism that educational research lacks rigor should be tempered by the recognition that educational research is not parallel to laboratory research, but is parallel to clinical research. These parallels suggest solutions to some of the practical and ethical difficulties faced by educational researchers, as well.

Key Concept Ranking

Clinical Research
0.63593185
Clinical Trials
0.542498
0.63593185

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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v13i1.360
2012-05-03
2017-09-19

Abstract:

Clinical research and educational research face similar practical and ethical constraints that impact the rigor of both kinds of studies. Practical constraints facing undergraduate science education research include small sample sizes (largely a result of disproportionate incentives to conduct educational research at small colleges versus large universities), and the impossibility of randomizing individual students to separate arms of a study. Ethical constraints include gaining the informed consent and assuring the confidentiality of study participants, and the requirement of equipoise (i.e., that it is unethical to subject some study participants to an experimental treatment that researchers have good reason to believe to be inferior to another treatment). While these constraints have long been recognized for clinical research, their implications for educational research have not been fully recognized. Criticism that educational research lacks rigor should be tempered by the recognition that educational research is not parallel to laboratory research, but is parallel to clinical research. These parallels suggest solutions to some of the practical and ethical difficulties faced by educational researchers, as well.

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