Our viewpoint article on research ethics was published in the July 2015 edition of Australian Family Physician.
- Siaw-Teng Liaw
- Chun Wah Michael Tam
A communitarian approach to health research ethics may help redress the modern tendency towards minimalism by emphasising social moral good, such as justice and beneficence, along with individual good like respect for autonomy. Ethical questions should be optimally considered during the development of research questions, not after. Building relationships with communities based on respect and trust may guide the meaningful prioritisation of research questions. It can also foster an understanding of risks to community, family and the individual that is grounded in the local sociocultural context. Positioning health research ethics as an ongoing discourse between researchers, stakeholders and bioethicists is imaginably more effective at promoting ethical research than framing it as a hurdle to be overcome.