Practices and standards in empirical (bio)ethics research: An open discussion

Prof. Stacy Carter1, Prof  Vikki Entwistle2, Dr Bek McWhirter3, Assistant Professor Tamra Lysaght2

1Research for Social Change, Faculty of Social Science, The University Of Wollongong, Australia, 2Centre for Biomedical Ethics, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore, 3Centre for Law and Genetics, Faculty of Law & Menzies Institute for Medical Research, University of Tasmania, Australia

If you do empirical ethics research, please come along to this workshop to talk about your own practices, and about how we might develop shared methodological understanding in empirical bioethics. We will assume that empirical ethics is worth doing: our focus will not be whether empirical bioethics should be done, but how it should be done.

Recently, European groups have attempted to develop standards for empirical ethics research. We will use that work as a jumping-off point, but will spend most of our time discussing three sets of questions in small groups and together:

  1. Why do you do empirical ethics research? What do you think the goals of such research should be? What kinds of research questions do you think should be asked in this work?
  2. How helpful is it to attempt to develop standards for empirical ethics research? How might practices in empirical ethics research relate to existing standards for empirical and theoretical research from other disciplines?
  3. How do you think about and work between the empirical and normative aspects of your work?

This is an opportunity for a supportive and robust discussion about how and why we do what we do. We welcome participants with all levels of experience, from complete beginners to old hands. Please come along and join in the conversation.


Stacy Carter is Professor and Founding Director at Research for Social Change, a research unit of the Faculty of Social Science at the University of Wollongong.

Vikki Entwistle is Professor and Director at the Centre for Biomedical Ethics in the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore. Tamra Lysaght is an Assistant Professor in the same centre.

Bek McWhirter is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Law and Genetics, in the Faculty of Law & Menzies Institute for Medical Research at the University of Tasmania.

Stacy, Bek and Tamra are the stream leaders of the Empirical Ethics stream of AABHL. All four presenters are empirical bioethics researchers.

About the Association

The Australasian Association of Bioethics and Health Law (AABHL) was formed in 2009.

It encourages open discussion and debate on a range of bioethical issues, providing a place where people can ask difficult questions about ideas and practices associated with health and illness, biomedical research and human values.

The AABHL seeks to foster a distinctive Australasian voice in bioethics, and provide opportunities for international engagement through its membership, journal and conferences.

Members come from all the contributing humanities, social science and science disciplines that make up contemporary bioethics.

Many members have cross-disciplinary interests and all seek to broaden the dialogues in which all members of the wider community ultimately have an interest.

The AABHL is a supportive, creative and challenging community that provides a rich source of continuing academic refreshment and renewal.

Conference Managers

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