Journal of Academic Ethics 4 (1-4) (2006)
|Abstract||IRBs and REBs use specialized language. A process of definition and re-definition of the situation occurs. That process of interpretation can usefully be considered from the perspective of interpretive social science models involving Symbolic Interaction, Semiotics and Hermeneutics. Seven examples are provided to flesh out the nuances of contextual decision making and the “casuistic” aspects of a balanced approach to complex problems. While many decisions are relatively unproblematic and can follow a template, it is not possible simply to apply a fixed and mechanical approach. Hence, a socialization process occurs in which committee members must learn the actual application of the rules as opposed to the formal requirements. A “tightrope” between overly rigid and overly lax interpretations must be crossed and the more we understand the process of semiosis and the semiotic context the more likely it will be that truly ethical decisions will be “accomplished.” The lack of adequate survey data makes it all the more important to have good theoretical understanding of process|
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