Ethical Considerations in Research

Ethical Considerations in Research


In the event of researching patients suffering from heart attack, there are various moral guidelines or principle that needs to be followed. These are what Navab et al. (2016) term as research ethics. These ethical guidelines oversee, control and govern the behavior of people undertaking a certain specific activity. In research, these ethical guidelines are referred to as Ethics. They are used to guide researchers on the way to deal with the subjects, and the information obtained from research. In this regard, in research to determine how being a smoker compared to a non-smoker impact mortality and recurrent heart attack rates during the first two years after the initial heart attack, it will be imperative to observe these research ethics. As observed by Leibovici (2016), research ethics are research requirements used to protect the dignity of research subjects and the publication of the sought data. According to Navab et al. (2016), when researchers engage in research related to nursing practice, it is required of them to get along with three value systems. These include society, nursing, and science. These value systems in some cases can conflict the values of research subjects, communities as well as the values of the societies. Ethical issues such as maintaining and respecting the privacy and confidentiality of the shared experience of others, recognizing intellectual property and minimizing harm, are essential while researching how being a smoker compared to being a non-smoker impact mortality and recurrent heart attack rates during the first two years after the initial heart attack research.

Informed Consent

The issue of informed consent is the primary ethical issue in the process of conducting research. Informed consent in simple terms refers to the subjects knowingly, voluntarily and intelligently give their consent (Ravitch & Carl, 2016). By respecting this ethical consideration, the researcher will have protected the heart attack patients’ right to autonomy. Informed consent when observed will help to protect the patient’s liberty and veracity. In this case, during the process of collecting data, the researcher will first need to introduce the study and its purpose to the patients of first heart attack used in the research. These patients will also be explained about the procedures involved. Additionally, it will be essential to describe to the patients used in the study of any physical harm or discomfort that comes with the research. If there will be any threat to their dignity, the subjects will be made aware. Also, if there are benefits associated with the research, it will be explained to the smokers and the non-smokers used in the study as research subjects. Moreover, the researcher will have the responsibility of letting these patients know any withheld information and the reason why such information has been withheld. Lastly, then it will be essential to discuss with the patients suffering from heart attack conditions used in the research on the freedom to withdraw. In a nutshell, before the heart attack, patients are asked to consent, disclosure, comprehension, competency, and voluntariness must be observed.

Beneficence- Do not harm

The principle of beneficence  tells the researchers not to use methods and procedure that will put the subjects in critical conditions. As such, the researcher should not, by any chance, harm the subjects. Concerning the research question on heart attack patients, will research on conditions to be set right to ensure the subjects- both the smokers and nonsmokers, are not subjected to any harm. As observed by Navab et al., (2016), harm could be physiological, emotional, social and economic. Research involving patients of heart attack who are smokers and others nonsmokers will call on the researcher to learn more about their personal issues which could end up causing psychological or emotional harm to the subjects. In this case, it will be the responsibility of the researcher to put into consideration all possible risks and balance the risks with the proportionate benefit (Leibovici 2016). In the case where the risks outweigh the benefits, the researcher will have no option but to revise the study methods. However, if the researcher does not anticipate any harm from the study and the patients end up hurt, an appropriate professional intervention such as therapy will be provided (Ravitch & Carl, 2016).

Respect for anonymity and confidentiality

While conducting research, researchers are required to respect and maintain anonymity and confidentiality. In this regard, anonymity entails ensuring that the subjects’ responses are not be linked with personal responses. On the other hand, confidentiality refers to managing the subjects’ personal information to protect their identity. In this regard, the identity of the patients some who are smokers and others non-smokers will not be revealed to ensure both anonymity and confidentiality. Anonymity and confidentiality are closely linked to respect for privacy. Respect for privacy in this research involving patients of a heart attack some who are who are smokers and others non-smokers will apply when the researcher does not share patients’ information with third parties without their knowledge or consent. Such information may include patients” beliefs, attitudes, opinions, and records.

Use of Vulnerable Groups

The other primary ethical challenge in research is the use of vulnerable groups of people as research subjects.  According to (Ravitch & Carl, 2016), it is unethical to include the following group of people as research subjects; prisoners, children, mentally disabled, and people with learning disabilities. These groups of people cannot be able to protect their rights and welfare and hence are unable to give informed consent. There is a higher risk in including these people as research subjects. In the case involving patients of suffering from heart attack, will not engage mentally ill people, children, and people with learning disabilities, there is the risk of intellectual property used in the research being destroyed by them, or the researcher himself can be physically assaulted.


Chances of having successful research without proper consideration of ethical issues are very minimal. Researchers, therefore, need to act per the research ethics while conducting research and ensure they are aware of the challenges that might be associated with these ethical-moral principles (Ravitch & Carl, 2016). Patients suffering from heart attack conditions will, therefore, be treated with respect and dignity.



Leibovici, L. (2016). Ethical considerations in research published in the CMI. Clinical      Microbiology and Infection, 22(12), 957.

Navab, A., Koegel, R., Dowdy, E., & Vernon, T. (2016). Ethical considerations in the application of the scientist-practitioner model for psychologists conducting intervention         research. Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy, 46(2), 79-87.

Ravitch, S. M., & Carl, N. M. (2016). Qualitative research: Bridging the conceptual, theoretical,            and methodological. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.