Are You Sitting Comfortably? Perspectives of the Researchers and the Researched on "Being Comfortable"
Accountability in Research 2006 April-June; 13(2): 111-133
In a study of volunteers in medical research, we found contrasting readings of "being comfortable" by the volunteer research subjects and the researchers. Although the experimental process (testing a new kind of diagnostic technology) involved some physical discomfort--and the researchers focused on this--the volunteers' concerns centred on feeling socially comfortable and managing feelings of embarrassment or isolation, and they generally made light of the physical aspects. The bias of volunteer concerns, which is understandable in terms of the different situations of researchers and volunteers and the different tensions they create, has potential implications for the engagement of researchers with their research subjects and prevailing standards for the ethical and accountable conduct of research.
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