Division of Medical Ethics and Law​


Postgraduate Diploma in Health Research Ethics: Module 1​


Module directors : Prof. S. Rennie, Prof. K. Moodley, Prof. A.A. van Niekerk Faculty: Prof. J.A. Singh, Prof. L. London, Prof. S. Benatar, Prof.N. Mkhize.

The overall goals of this two week module are to introduce trainees to the history of research ethics, major philosophical theories and principles relevant to research ethics and bioethics. Famous and infamous abuses in research, which have given rise to influential regulations and codes, will be examined from critical and nuanced perspectives. The module will also examine models of the researcher/participant relationship, and the role that the law has played in the development of bioethics and research ethics. Legal cases have made a tremendous impact on research ethics, and trainees will be familiarized with some of these, including some infamous ones on the African continent. The concept of 'research' will be presented in a broad sense, encompassing clinical research as well as behavioural research, and will include ethical challenges posed by both qualitative and quantitative approaches to research involving human participants. Trainees will be introduced to the philosophical analysis of ethical issues, the key differences between philosophy, law and religion, and the challenge of ethical relativism. Important background theories and principles employed in research ethics will be examined. African philosophy will be introduced as a counterpoint and means of assessing whether research ethics globally is dominated by a Westernized approach to ethical issues and if so, to what extent.

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