Risk in Research: An Analysis on Embarrassing Issues and Situations in Questionnaire-Based Research

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Juliana Dias Reis Pessalacia, RN
Nursing, Universidade Federal de São João Del Rei (UFSJ), Divinópolis, Brazil
Cléa Regina de Oliveira Ribeiro, PhD
Psychiatric Nursing, University of São Paulo at Ribeirão Preto College of Nursing, Ribeirão Preto, Brazil

Learning Objective 1: The student should be able to identify the main issues or situations that generate embarrassment to research participants containing questions (questionnaires or interviews).

Learning Objective 2: The student should be able to identify measures to prevent the risk of public non-physical (psychological, moral, social or spiritual) in surveys containing questions.

The importance on ethical issues in approaching subjects for research containing questionnaires is often not considered because the physical risk for the participants is virtually null. Purpose: This study is a reflection on the non-physical risks (psychological, moral, social or spiritual) in interview or questionnaire-based research. The source for the studied data was obtained from a Doctorate Thesis. Methods: This is a study of the theoretical reflection type. Results: The study revealed that the issues potentially causing embarrassment are: betrayal, physical violence, sexual banter at work, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, death of friends, and generally, issues involving sexuality and loving behavior. Importantly, the embarrassment is increased when environmental conditions for the questioning/interview, such as the lack of informed consent, are considered. Conclusion: These results provide an important contribution to the ethical evaluation by researchers and the Ethics in Human Research (CEP / CONEP / Ministry of Health, Brazil). The ethical evaluation could improve prevention of non-physical risks in questionnaire and interview-based research, mainly for nurses, which are frequently using these as tools for their scientific investigations. Reference: PESSALACIA, J.D.R. Bioethics and research: perception of research subjects about embarrassing topics and situations in research with polls. Ribeirão Preto, 2009. 101p. Doctoral Dissertation. University of São Paulo at Ribeirão Preto College of Nursing.