Jan 15, 2012
I got a fellowship where most of the other people in my program are doing actual clinical or basic science research. I've always been interested in bioethics so decided to work on that.

In retrospect, I'm afraid that taking a bioethical question and writing a paper on it doesn't technically count as "research."

What do you guys think?


"This is the way"
15+ Year Member
Oct 20, 2005
Protecting the asset
Attending Physician
You can turn any clinical question into research, even if that question is related to bioethics.

I don't know what specific area of bioethics you are looking at, but if you have an ethical conundrum, you can always look at how people practice given a certain issue. Then you can take that data that you gathered, apply educational sessions about the ethical issue and then re-examine the same group of people and see if their practice or behaviors changes using paired statistics. This can work in most bioethics situations. As long as you have something measurable, it's research (though some might say it's quality improvement, but the line between the 2 can be vague).


10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 11, 2009
Medical Student
I would imagine that it depends upon the kind of research experience that you're looking for. It won't be the same as lab research, but depending upon your topic it can certainly overlap a good deal with clinical research. Be prepared to explain the relevance of your research. If you're concerned about how it will look on your CV for a particular specialty, maybe talk to one of the faculty in that field at your school?

I've read a fair number of medical ethics articles in the past year and some of them, in the structure of the paper and the methods of research, have been very much in the vein of scientific papers while others have had a closer resemblance to political science research. It really depends upon the question and how you structure it.
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