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Med Teach. 2017 Jul 30:1-6. doi: 10.1080/0142159X.2017.1357805. [Epub ahead of print]

Twelve tips to avoid ethical pitfalls when recruiting students as subjects in medical education research.

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1
a Department of Family and Emergency Medicine , Université de Sherbrooke , Sherbrooke , Canada.
2
b Department of Surgery , Université de Sherbrooke , Sherbrooke , Canada.
3
c Department of Medicine , Université de Sherbrooke , Sherbrooke , Canada.

Abstract

Medical education research has unique characteristics that raise their own set of ethical issues, which differ significantly from those commonly found in clinical research. In contexts where researchers have a dual role as teachers, free consent to participate in research may be undermined and students' data must be kept confidential from faculty who play any role in their academic or professional path. Faculty members who recruit students as research subjects within their institution for education research should pay particular attention to ensure students' consent to participate is indeed free and continuous and that their privacy is adequately protected. A good understanding of ethical standards and of the appropriate strategies to fulfill them is essential to conduct ethical medical education research and to ensure ethics approval is obtained. These twelve tips draw from the Declaration of Helsinki, from the ICMJE recommendations and from the example of their application to medical education research in a Canadian and North American context. They aim to act as a reminder and as a guide to address the main ethical issues which should be given proper consideration when designing a study involving students as subjects for medical education research.

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