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Table 4 List of domains and standards circulated (and rejected) following discussion in round 5

From: Standards of practice in empirical bioethics research: towards a consensus

Domain Round 5 standards included Reason for rejection
Aims Empirical bioethics research should address a normative issue that is oriented towards practice N/A
Aims Empirical Bioethics research should integrate empirical methods with ethical arguments in order to address this normative issue N/A
Questions Empirical bioethics researchers ought to be explicit about how the research question(s) asked address(es) the normative issue identified in the aims N/A
Integration The theoretical position on integration (i.e. the theoretical views on how the empirical and the normative are related) should be made clear and explicit N/A
Integration The method of integration should be explained and justified, including details of what is integrated with what, how and by whom N/A
Integration There should be transparency, consistency and rigor in the execution and reporting of the integrating analysis N/A
Conduct of empirical work Empirical bioethics research ought to attend to the rigorous implementation of empirical methods, and import accepted standards of conduct from appropriate research paradigms N/A
Conduct of empirical work Empirical bioethics research should, if and where necessary, develop and amend empirical methods to facilitate collection of the data required to meet the aims of the research; but deviation from accepted disciplinary standards and practices ought to be acknowledged and justified N/A
Conduct of empirical work Empirical bioethics research should reflect on and justify the appropriateness and fit of the chosen empirical methods in relation to (a) the normative aims (b) the stated approach to integration N/A
Conduct of empirical work Empirical bioethics research should consider and reflect on the implicit ethical and epistemological assumptions of the chosen empirical method N/A
Conduct of normative work In empirical bioethics research there should be thorough delineation of the ethical issue(s), paying attention to, and locating them within, the relevant disciplinary literature N/A
Conduct of normative work In empirical bioethics research there should be an explicit and robust ethical argument, where argument is understood as an explicit attempt to convince X to adopt position Y with the use of reasons N/A
Training and expertise The empirical bioethics researcher, or the research team as a whole, should possess competence in ethical inquiry, empirical inquiry and methods of integration N/A
Training and expertise The empirical bioethics researcher(s) should have at least a basic knowledge of bioethics, and an understanding of whatever aspects of other disciplines or fields they are engaged with N/A
Training and expertise Provision should be made for ensuring that any team members can acquire or enhance competence in empirical bioethics research N/A
Conclusions None This was not included as a domain because formulations of standards under it were (a) too prescriptive about the kind of research that could be undertaken or (b) those that were not too prescriptive simply repeated points already captured in standards within the ‘aims’ and ‘questions’ domains.
Training None This was not included as a discrete domain but was combined with the ‘multi/interdisciplinarity’ domain to create a more apposite domain of ‘training and expertise’. It was felt that the standards that could be created within both discrete domains covered very similar material, and so combining appeared sensible.
Output None This was not included as a domain because it was felt no standards could be formulated for it that either (a) were not so general that they were not already covered by generally accepted publishing standards or (b) were not too prescriptive about the kinds of outputs that empirical bioethics should aim for.
Research Ethics None This was not included as a domain because it was felt that the standards that were proposed under it simply replicated standards of practice that were already accepted and endorsed widely, and therefore having specific standards around research ethics for empirical bioethics was not needed.
Multi/ interdisciplinarity None This was not included as a discrete domain but was combinedwith the ‘training’ domain to create a more apposite domain of ‘training and expertise’. It was felt that the standards that could be created within both discrete domains covered very similar material, and so combining appeared sensible. The label was replaced with ‘expertise’ because it was considered overly prescriptive to require multi/Interdisciplinarity’. Rather, what was important is that all members of the team have appropriate training and expertise – and this was dictated by the research question and methods chosen.