Research is a scientific approach to answering questions, often involving human participants to test health care treatments or drugs. It is not always possible to know what will happen to the participants; sometimes unexpected or undesirable results happen. The participation of local community representatives in planning and conducting research is, therefore, important. Communities should be informed of the research, possible outcomes (positive and negative), and the results of the research. Research findings belong to participants and their communities as well as the researchers and the research community. Community representatives and researchers can work together to make sure that research is conducted in the most appropriate way.
Research ethics is a growing field of study generating a great deal of attention. International research ethics should guide research conducted at the community level to ensure that international expectations and standards are followed. Family Health International (FHI) has conducted research involving human participants from communities around the world for over 30 years and believes that one of the primary goals of research is the protection of research volunteers through incorporating ethical considerations into the research study design and implementation.