Benefit and Harm Balance

Weighing up and balancing the benefits and harms of research was a central and frequently raised ethical issue identified in PREA research. The potential benefits to participants and their communities should be greater than the risks of harm. However, balancing the two has many challenges. Benefits and harms are estimated ahead of time, but what happens during the research may differ in both kind and scale. Humanitarian settings can be fluid and unstable, leading to change being more usual than stability. Benefits and harms can also occur in very different ways. A vaccine efficacy trial may carry physical benefits and risks, while participating in an interview could lead to emotional benefits or privacy violations. All these complicate these considerations and require careful reflection.

Which of the following are features of your study?



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