Whether you conduct research with animals or humans, there are ethical principles and federal and university regulations, guidelines and policies that direct your ethical treatment of your research participants. Some of the ethical aspects of research conducted with human beings include an individual’s right to choose to participate in the study. (This is the focus of the new requirement for informed consent). Informed consent requires the participant’s complete understanding of the research procedures and the risks and possible outcomes of the research. Researchers must also demonstrate respect for the participant’s culture and race and exercise fairness in the selection of research participants. Researchers should have the welfare of the research participant as a goal of any study.
Much of the research you do with human subjects must be reviewed by the Social Science/Behavioral/Education Institutional Review Board (SIRB) prior to its commencement (See MSU HRPP Manual Section 4-1). The MSU Human Research Protection Program (HRPP) has a comprehensive online manual on MSU’s human research protection policies with which you must be familiar, along with useful forms, templates and FAQs. You may find these materials on its website.
The criteria SIRB employs to evaluate research include:
Cases of non-compliance (cases in which investigator(s) failed to fulfill the requirements set by the University and federal regulations protecting human subjects) or deviate from approved study procedures without SIRB’s prior approval is considered a violation of Michigan State University's Federal Wide Assurance (FWA-00004556) for the protection of human subjects. MSU and federal policies stipulate that non-compliance must be reported to SIRB immediately. SIRB will investigate all cases of non-compliance. SIRB may require research be suspended during the investigation. The investigator(s) may submit a written explanation of the events that may end up constituting non-compliance. Investigator(s) may also be asked to meet with SIRB to discuss the case. If SIRB decides that non-compliance took place in the study, SIRB will determine its seriousness and take appropriate corrective actions, which can include disciplinary sanction.
The use of animals in research, teaching, and outreach activities is subject to state and federal laws and guidelines. University policy specifies that: