Meeting the diverse needs of these stakeholders generates a number of questions and sometimes conflicts about responsibilities and values, where the most important philosophical need would be to carry out research in a way sensitive to the needs of participants in the field (Chadwick and Tadd, 1992, 7-63).
Some basic issues in research ethics centre on special levels of protection and aid for vulnerable and disadvantaged parties, when a research is contemplated involving their participation. These issues cut across clinical ethics, public health ethics and research ethics (Nursing and Midwifery Council, 2002a). When individuals lack the ability to select the approach that would be most consistent with their values and preferences, it is inappropriate to give them control over their consent to a research (Royal College Of Nursing Research Society, 2004). Vulnerable persons usually need the protection of a trustworthy individual to make decisions on their behalf. The capacity evaluation is essential to determine whether autonomy or protection is the appropriate governing principle in particular cases (Broome, 1999, 96-103).
Ethical and Legal Principles in Research
To make autonomous choices, people must have certain abilities, and there is agreement on the basic features of decisional capacity. It has been mentioned that four abilities are central, the ability to communicate a choice; the ability to understand relevant information; the ability to appreciate how this information applies to one's current and future situation; and the ability to give comprehensible reasons for a decision (Noble-Adams, 1999, 888-892). Simple mental status assessments may furnish preliminary guidance; they are insufficient to determine whether someone is able to make autonomous decisions about participating in research. This is more so if the person is being treated for some mental reasons, and research involving these persons are very common (Polit, Becks, & Hungler, 2001, 143-160). Therefore, it is necessary to evaluate decisional capacity in the context of the specific research situation at hand. Decision-making capacity should be assessed through a discussion of the facts relevant to the particular choice facing a patient. At the least, patients should demonstrate the ability to understand the goals, potential benefits and risks of a proposed research, and should be able to express a reasonably stable choice as well (Manning, 2006, 35-47).
Consent and Informed Consent
Often, in research, it is insufficient to obtain the cooperation of prospective study participants alone. If the sample includes children, mentally incompetent people, or senile individuals, it would be necessary to secure the permission of parents or guardians. From that point of view, a research problem may not be feasible because the investigation of the problem would pose unfair or unethical demands on participants. The ethical responsibilities of researchers should not be taken lightly (Noble-Adams, 199