PRELIMINARY ABSTRACT SUBMISSION EXAMPLE ABSTRACT. This hypothetical case concerns an anthropologist’s involvement on an Institutional Review Board located inside a private company. The anthropologist has worked for several years for the private company and is very happy in his job. However, his company recently accepted a contract for work involving human subjects, and the work raises somewhat indirectly several of the same issues that the American Anthropological Association is debating in the context of the Human Terrain System. The anthropologist sees both benefits and risks associated with the research as it is debated in the company’s IRB, and sees that the benefits have a high potential of outweighing the risks; but also recognizes that the research violates several core ethical principles related to honesty and transparency with research subjects. The company ends up deciding to pursue the work, with some amendments to the contract that will make the work exempt from IRB review. The anthropologist is unhappy with the decision, but decides the best he can do is refuse to participate in the project. This case raises issues about involvement of anthropologists with private industry and government institutions, anthropologists working in bureaucracies, and the confluence of ethical, moral, and methodological issues in interdisciplinary research settings.
“The Practicalities of the Situation”