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date: 18 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The systematic collection and analysis of data is central to public health. Some public health activities are easily classified as either research or nonresearch, while the distinction is more nuanced for other activities. How an activity gets classified has ethical implications—additional oversight, requirements for consent of participants, and potentially whether the activity can be undertaken at all. Scholarly analysis of this issue suggests that an important aspect distinguishing research from other public health data collection activities is to consider the intent of the activity and whether experimentation is involved. The three ethical principles of respect for persons, beneficence, and (distributive) justice guide researchers in their relationships with individual participants. Because public health research can be directed at an entire community, this chapter posits that these three principles must be extended to appropriately include and consider the community as a stakeholder.

Keywords: public health research, community, public health ethics, respect for persons, beneficence, justice, consent

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