Would it be ethical to conduct the research under the conditions set forth by the tribal leaders?
You are planning to conduct a study on the women’s attitudes toward birth control in a developing nation. The population you are planning to work with has a tribal governance structure: All research projects must be approved by the tribal leaders. You present your proposed research project to members of the tribe, describing the protocol and consent process. You plan to conduct a medical history and physical exam on each woman. You will also conduct a thirty-minute interview in which you ask them questions about their sexual behavior and attitudes toward sex. Each woman will also receive tests for HIV, chlamydia, herpes, and other sexually transmitted diseases. The tribal leaders give their tentative approval to the research with the understanding that if the research subject is married, her husband must be present for the consent process and interview. If she is not married, the leading male member of her family, such as her father or grandfather, must be present. The husband/leading male family member must also give his approval for the woman’s participation in the study. You have some serious concerns about these conditions, because you think that complying with them could bias your data and compromise the ethical integrity of the project.
• Would it be ethical to conduct the research under the conditions set forth by the tribal leaders?
• How should you discuss these issues with the tribal leaders?