Responsibilities and Ethics

Subject CLRS90013 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2013.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Approx. 48 hours (4 day intensive block)
Total Time Commitment:

Students should expect to undertake a minimum of 120 hours lectures, research, reading, writing etc. to complete this subject successfully.





Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering requests for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.

The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


School of Melbourne Custom Programs

Level 3, 442 Auburn Rd

Hawthorn VIC 3122

Phone: 03 9810 3245


Subject Overview:

Ethics is more than just one part of Clinical Research. Ethics pervade every aspect of a trial, from the rationale in the first place through to the maintenance of data and its eventual destruction years after the publication of results. Ethical issues arise in the randomisation of subjects, the choice of outcome, the collection of data, access to that data, the analysis of the data, the reporting of results and the monitoring of the safety of participants. No Clinical Research can be conducted without a thorough and overarching ethical view of all that occurs.


Topics covered include:

  • Structure of Informed Consent documents
  • Meaning of Informed in the context of blinding and randomisation to allocated treatments.
  • Basic human rights in experimental settings
  • The human being as an experimental subject and unit of analysis
  • Data monitoring and safety committees
  • Exercises in complex ethical situations
  • Ethics committees structure; membership; terms of reference
  • Assessment of ethics applications (mock exercise)
  • Cultural differences in ethical viewpoints
  • Ethics under adverse conditions or under duress
  • Ethical responses to unlawful collection of data or specimens
  • Ethical issues of individual or volunteered experiments on the dying

Two assignments each of 2000 words (100%). Students will review an ethics proposal, identifying major concerns and problems within that proposal. Students will prepare an ethics application for a project within their workplace or other appropriate setting, detailing all major ethical issues that arise and their management.

Prescribed Texts:

Students will be provided with articles and references that support the teaching program as part of their course materials

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students who successfully complete this subject will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an sound understanding of the basic concepts in human ethics, including the principles of:
    - Autonomy
    - Justice
    - Beneficence
    - Malfeasance
  • Understand the need for integrity in both research and researchers
  • Understand the need to protect human rights in research
  • Appreciate the requirement for informed consent
  • Appreciate both sides of the risk-benefit tension
  • Understand the impact of different cultural perspectives on ethical issues
Links to further information:
Related Course(s): Graduate Certificate in Clinical Research
Graduate Diploma in Clinical Research
Master of Clinical Research
Professional Certificate in Clinical Research

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