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Trust in the system: research ethics committees and the regulation of biomedical research

Hedgecoe, Adam ORCID: 2020. Trust in the system: research ethics committees and the regulation of biomedical research. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

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Based on extensive observation, interviews and archive research, this book provides the most in-depth insight so far into one of the most crucial forms of regulation around medical research: research ethics committees. Every month, groups of people from all over the United Kingdom decide what kind of research should be carried out on patients within the National Health Service. These groups - Research Ethics Committees (RECs) - made up of doctors, nurses, researchers, and members of the general public - help shape the future of medicine, and play a crucial role in the regulation of a wide range of research from social science to epidemiology, vaccine and drugs trials and surgery. In providing one of the first empirical examinations of this kind of regulation, this book highlights how, despite the trappings of a modern regulatory system, REC decision making revolves around very old-fashioned aspects of social life such as interpersonal trust, reputation and the performance of character, and that an accurate understanding of this kind of regulation requires an acceptance of the inherently social nature of the processes involved. In placing trust at the centre of ethics decision making, this book challenges the impersonal, de-socialised and mechanical models of REC decision making that dominate mainstream accounts, and documents the subtle messy and complex way in which these bodies decide what kind of research should take place.

Item Type: Book
Book Type: Authored Book
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Publisher: Manchester University Press
ISBN: 9781526152916
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2022 10:55

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