Monday, July 7, 2008

Suicide Research

In this rather creepy story from Inside Higher Ed today, they talk about some of the challenges in studying a taboo topic like suicide. A Canadian university recently withdrew funding for two different research projects due to ethical concerns. From one perspective, suicide researchers are suffering from huge gaps in information due to their lack of ability to observe suicide attempts. On the other hand, there's a large ethical concern in observing suicide and not doing anything to stop it.

This is indicative of how academic study is subject to the whims of popular opinion, even if such research could end up being valuable. After all, what if researchers discovered something that might prevent future suicides through observation? That's not to say the ethical concerns aren't valid, but it also shows that researchers face just as much scrutiny as other professions.

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