Research Ethics Is Construed Differently

Werhane & Doering (1997) point out that it is virtually impossible to operate in a totally objective research environment. All researchers have a degree of bias. The goal is to minimize that bias as a variable in empirical research. Focusing on conflicts of interest and conflicts of commitment, Werhane & Doering (1997) raise important issues and address critical concerns. The issues of conflict of interest and conflict of commitment are salient especially in the world of business. The interface between science and business frequently presents such a conflict, such as in pharmaceutical research. Informed consent and other ethical precautions are sometimes misconstrued if not totally glossed over in research.

Each of these articles offers a unique perspective on research ethics. It is impossible to extricate the researcher from the research, note Werhane & Doering (1997). Bias is inevitable, but it is crucial to recognize when and how this bias manifests.

Interpretations of research depend on this recognition as well. Most importantly, policy makers must recognize when biases occur. Randall & Gibson (1990) also incorporate researcher bias into their article, although they do so only as one variable of many. The Randall & Gibson (1990) article describes many of the ancillary variables that impact research ethics in addition to bias. Resniks (2010) article is the broadest of the three, addressing some generalizations with regards to research ethics.


Randall, D.M. & Gibson, a.M. (1990). Methodology in business ethics research: A review and critical assessment. Journal of Business Ethics 9(6): 457-471.

Resnik, D.B. (2010). What is Ethics in Research & Why is it Important? National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences — National Institutes of Health. Retrieved online:

Werhane, P. & Doering, J. (1997). Conflicts of interest and conflicts of commitment. Chapter 6 in.

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