Health  Vol.4 No.4 , April 2012
Autonomy and interdependence: quandaries in research ethics
ABSTRACT
The autonomy of research participants is crucial in research ethics without which it will be difficult to carry out research. Central to the concept of autonomy is the debate on whether the cultural norms of individuals (particularly women) should be given priority in settings where these norms require that researchers should go through male heads such as husbands and traditional leaders. This paper examines issues relating to the autonomy of women in research ethics. It highlights the far-reaching implications of autonomy for women participating in research using Islam as a religion and Africa as case studies. The paper takes a look at what obtains in Ghana and Nigeria as African countries with diverse religious sects highlighting at the same time the extent to which women are autonomous in some Islamic parts of India and Pakistan. The paper stresses that in spite of certain factors limiting the autonomy of women in Africa and Islam, there is need for a more robust account of autonomy. It takes a relational approach to autonomy concluding at the same time that the best way to do bioethics is to be culture-sensitive.

Cite this paper
Lanre-Abass, B. (2012) Autonomy and interdependence: quandaries in research ethics. Health, 4, 173-184. doi: 10.4236/health.2012.44026.
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