(This section is organised in the form of a book, please follow the blue arrows to navigate through the book or by following the navigation panel on the right side of the page.)
Medicine, like other health and social sciences, is not an exact science. For example, ‘established treatments’ might not be suitable for some patients, might not work well for others and some patients simply cannot access them.
This means that research is important, because:
- Established treatments need to be monitored and evaluated to find out when they are effective, i.e. when they work well.
- We are always looking for new treatments.
- medicine is ‘experimental’, i.e. we learn as we go by using new ideas and techniques.
- New diseases and conditions emerge and we need to find out how to treat them.
- Financial investment - more money is put into health research.
- Diversity - more and more areas are considered and studied, including:
- the factors that might affect health in defined populations (epidemiology),
- genes (genetics),
- humans and social behaviour (anthropology and sociology),
- the factors that might affect access to health care (health systems research).
Research ethics aims to promote high standards of behaviour in the conduct of research involving humans. It does this through an awareness of relevant values, principles and rules.