Methods and myopia? some praise, and problem and a plea

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In “A Conceptual Model for the Translation of Bioethics Research and Scholarship,” Debra Mathews et al. aim to “begin an important discussion” about how to measure success in bioethics, and in doing so they set out a typology of bioethics research and scholarship with the arguably correct assumption that we cannot evaluate success in bioethics without first understanding what its goals are. I think the authors are correct in their claim that, in the current academic climate, having work in bioethics deemed a success is likely to hinge, in some way, on its being translated into practice and having impact. I want, however, to add a critical voice in the form of three considerations that I feel ought to be attended to before the work progresses further, the first being that the typology Mathews et al. propose is highly problematic. Although there is a burgeoning literature on “empirical bioethics” methodologies that blend empirical and conceptual work, the typology appears to ignore this.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-47
Number of pages2
JournalHastings Center Report
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sep 2016


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