Provost and Academic Affairs

Iterative Case Study

Iterative Case Study

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What is the Iterative Case Study?

The Iterative Case Study is an innovative approach to using ethics case studies in the classroom environment, allowing students to experience how risks and benefits in research change under different conditions and talk through the ethics of human subjects research in a creative and conversational way. This series of Case Studies begins with a very simply example of a human subjects research protocol. In each step of the Iterative Case Study (ICS), one additional protocol element is changed or added, which changes the entire set of ethical questions posed by the study. Each step of the ICS includes a standardized set of questions prompting ethical reflection and discussion. These standardized questions are also designed to allow faculty to use the ICS as a pre-made assessment for courses interested in the ethics of social, behavioral, educational, and biomedical research.

How do I use the Iterative Case Study?

Below you will find the full outline of the Case Study series in an accordion format. This series is also available as a set of Canvas modules, which are packaged in three phases for:

  • Social and Behavioral Research
  • Behavioral and Basic Physiological Research
  • Biomedical Research

Here are some helpful tips for using the Iterative Case Study:

  • This page can be used in the classroom environment to prompt discussion.
  • A Canvas version of the ICS is available as ready made quizzes.
  • Each Case Study includes a standardized set of questions which can be used for assessment and student reflection.

The Iterative Case Study

This is an Iterative Case Study, where each step of the case series changes exactly one variable from the research design examined in the previous example. For each iteration, some aspects of the ethical considerations will change. Think about how the potential risks and benefits change with each iteration. You may be asked to consider how issues with informed consent might change from case to case. You will also be asked how the potential risks might be minimized in each new case. Answer the questions provided with each iteration.