How to write an essay on Human Subjects Protection

How to write an essay on Human Subjects Protection

Human research is a crucial part that has led to a great emphasis across the world. Improved technology and upcoming pharmaceutical industries have craved human subjects’ use in testing various vaccines inoculated into human subjects. Health advancements and improved welfare entirely depend on the engagement of human subjects in research.  Benefits and harm have been seen in human beings subjected to research. Properly controlled studies with human subjects are significant in distinguishing the cause of disease and effective treatment. The involvement of human research has also presented a challenging ethical dilemma during the decades. Human subjects’ research can yield no benefits and no signs as well.

Section (I) Historical background on human subjects protection

Human subject requires that investigators treat human subjects as autonomous individuals and obtain their informed consent. They should not regard humans as passive sources of data rather as individuals whose welfare and rights are respected. Human subjects’ protection made a great step in the 19th century. The Nuremberg code began in 1945. German human subjects were impaired during World War II. The Nuremberg code stipulated that no experiment should be conducted when there is a thought to lead to death. There should be proper preparations in place with adequate facilities to enhance the protection of experimental subjects. The Declaration of Helsinki was formed by world medical doctors, which stated that any research involving human subjects and individuals’ well-being must take precedence over all other interests (Resnik, 2019). The declaration stated that human subjects’ research involvement should be voluntary, and family members should be informed before any experiment.  The medical field involving human subjects must be informed of the aims, sources, methods, and possible findings.

The United States, in 1979, came up with the Belmont Report, which elaborated the guidelines for the protection of human subjects and principles. The Belmont Report emphasized the respect for a person demands that human subjects participate in research voluntarily, aligned with being well informed about the research objectives. The Belmont Report comes up with principles that guide human subject protection. These principles include beneficence, justice, and informed consent (Adashi, 2018). Human subject protection holds that the benefits should outweigh the risks incurred to the subjects.

Section (II) Incidences of human subjects’ abuse

Some experiments are heinous and disregard human life. Individuals are either forced or coerced without well-informed consent. Some individuals may be lured to participate with small compensation or even none without knowing the prevailing health impairments. However, a participant in turkey was lured by United States government medical doctors and vaccinated participants with syphilis (Hoover & Cohen, 2021). The main intention was to determine whether penicillin could cure syphilis. Vaccinating participants with syphilis contributed to the death of hundreds of Turkish participants. Respect for humans was violated. Many Turkish participants lost their life without prior good information about the outcomes of the experiment.

Section (III) Steps to minimize risks on human subjects

Respect for human rights is significant in minimizing risks as far as human subjects’ research is concerned. Minimizing risk to a human subject is enhanced by using sound and consistent procedures that do not expose subjects to risk.  The use of procedures in the clinical trials that have already been used is beneficial to minimizing risk in human research involvements (Consumer Product Safety Commission, 2017). The researchers should provide complete information in the protocol regarding the experiment involving human subjects.  The participant engaging in human research should be well-grounded with informed consent about the research study.

Section (IV) Vulnerable populations

Certain groups of human research participants, such as prisoners, children, terminally ill patients, pregnant women, mentally and emotionally disabled people, employees of the institution conducting research, elderly clients, severely ill or disabled people, are considered incapable of protecting their rights. However, since children have not attained the age of deciding a consent on their own to research, their parents or guardian are responsible for deciding participation in the research. A group is considered vulnerable when they are in a position that they cannot make an informed consent (Constantin, 2018). For instance, a physically disabled and elderly client may find it difficult because of their status. An institution may decide to conduct research using its employees because their availability is termed unethical. Every individual right of choice has to be protected irrespective of the circumstance they are in.

Section (V) Appropriate ways to recruit subjects

The selection of human subjects’ participants in research should be described in the Institutional Review Board application and approved by the IRB. The use of advertisements, notices, and media after approval by the IRB paves the way for the selection of participants. Research participants can also be selected directly, for instance, approaching people in public settings or social networks. An institution conducting research can also provide colleagues with IRB-approved guidelines describing the purpose, procedures and inform individuals how to collect the research.  (Hoover & Cohen, 2021). A person also conducting research can make use of chart review to identify prospective subjects.

Section (VI) How to obtain consent

Informed consent is a written document that should be provided to the participants before conducting human research involvement. A researcher should obtain proper consent by providing participants with information about the research purpose and adequate information about the research study.  A consent should obtain the participant’s voluntary agreement to participate. A consider should consider an adequate opportunity for the participants’ questions about the study.

Section (VII) Elements of a properly executed consent

A properly executed consent should contain the following elements. A good consent should stipulate that researchers are identified and credentials presented. Informed consent should offer answers and compensation, if any. Authorization to access health information, comprehension of informed consent, and obtaining the study results are also important elements of good consent (Hoover & Cohen, 2021). Voluntary participation and withdrawal should also be elaborated in informed consent.

Section (VIII) Committees responsible for monitoring human subjects’ protection

There are several committees responsible for monitoring and protection of human rights. The Institutional Review Board (IRB) committee is stipulated to protect human subjects participating in research.  An IRB is an independent body responsible for reviewing and approving or disapproving, and monitoring research involving human participants.

In conclusion, the human subject’s protection is vital in protecting the rights of participants engaging in human research.  Human subject protection involves treating participants with autonomy. Individuals should be treated with respect, and the safety of clients should be upheld.  Institutions involving people in research should take into account people’s rights by providing informed consent. Finally, researchers should not engage vulnerable groups in research for their good without consulting relevant committees.



Adashi, E. Y., Walters, L. B., & Menikoff, J. A. (2018). The Belmont Report at 40: Reckoning With Time. American journal of public health108(10), 1345–1348.

Resnik, D. B. (2019). Citizen scientists as human subjects: Ethical issues. Citizen Science: Theory and Practice4(1).

Hoover Green, A., & Cohen, D. K. (2021). Centering human subjects: The ethics of “desk research” on political violence. Journal of Global Security Studies6(2), ogaa029.

Consumer Product Safety Commission (2017). Protection of Human Subjects. Federal register82(179), 43459–43470.

Constantin A. (2018). Human Subject Research: International and Regional Human Rights Standards. Health and human rights20(2), 137–148.

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