Comparison groups are used as a reference for the study. These participants do not receive an intervention or receive an alternative intervention. The benefit-risk ratio plays into using comparison groups because potential harm has to be assessed for both groups. The main goal of determining the risk to benefit ratio is in defining the potential harm that the research subjects may be subjected to in comparison to the achieved benefits (Eyl, 2017).
The ethical concerns regarding the risk to benefit ratio relate to the potential high-risk studies that may potentially be very beneficial. From a legal and ethical perspective, it is appropriate to design studies with minimal risk only (“Appropriate risk to benefit ratio,” n.d.). This type of risk is comparable to the discomfort that people encounter in their daily lives or during routing phycological and other assessments. Higher risk studies require enhanced monitoring and additional approval.
Online studies challenge the researchers because they require them to use new ways of informing the participants about the goals of the study. For an online survey, the elements that will make it difficult to achieve informed consent elements include confidentiality and ensuring that the participants carefully study the information (“Guidelines for online survey consent procedures,” n.d.). Van Hoof and Widdershoven (2017) argue that the researchers face difficulties when allowing the potential participants to form an independent opinion and consent to participate with online methods. This is because the nature of online research allows the participants to avoid studying the materials and additional information carefully. Hence, they may consent to research they did not intend on participating in or take part in a study they do not fully comprehend.
Appropriate risk to benefit ratio. (n.d.). Web.
Eyal, N. (2017). The benefit/risk ratio challenge in clinical research, and the case of HIV cure: an introduction. Journal of Medical Ethics, 43(2), 65–66.
Guidelines for online survey consent procedures. (n.d.). Web.
van Hoof, Marc & Widdershoven, Guy. (2017). Informed consent in online research: the need for new ways of addressing research subjects. AME Medical Journal, 2, 1-10.