CIRCA:Murray L. Wax.“The Ethics of Research in American Indian Communities.”


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Murray L. Wax. “The Ethics of Research in American Indian Communities” 1991.

This paper questions the scientific research (biomedical) ethics dealing with Native Americans as subjects of investigation by making know the differing expectations and standpoints of both parties. The author made examinations between 1) individuals and communities, 2) research investigators and their projects and 3) the tribal officials on issues relating to the forming and receiving of the research, among which the intention of the research as to pursue truth and establish facts; the irrelevancy of the project to the Native Americans and their passive stance; the “incommensurability of ethical evaluation” that contrast between scientific ideal and traditional concerns of the tribe (441); confidentiality and the potential benefit of the project to the tribe were issues of higher interest. Also the question of who to receive consent (individual or communal) on the project and the problem of limited reader were proposed. To the difficulty of disseminating findings, the author provided solutions such as write articles for newspaper and make use of depositories. Last but not least, conjoint planning was suggested as the ultimate solution to tackle with all the issues brought up in the article.

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