1. Introduction

1.1. Social Value

In light of the ethical principle of respect for persons, the justification for including individuals in a research project depends on the social value of the proposed research. Research will be considered as having value when the hypotheses or questions being researched have potential benefits.

These benefits may relate to:
  • Individuals or a particular population or sub-group,
  • To society generally, in relation to an important topic or issue, or
  • To some combination of the above.
To have social value, a research project should be designed to solve a problem that is relevant to society concerns.

Case study: Malaria Trial

An anti-malarial medicine called atovaquone-proguanil was tested in a developing country. However, it was intended for use by travellers going to areas where malaria is common. Although the research burden was taken by the developing countries, the medicine turned out to be too expensive to be administered in those same countries. Conducting a research study to test new medicines that will not be affordable to the community that bears the burden of the research is an example of research that does not have social value in that community.