November 3rd, 2010 by Jared Bothwell
In the NZ Herald article Apology follows tobacco survey it highlights the fine ethical line that researchers must tread when researching sensitive topics.
Colmar Brunton (the research company) received a number of complaints for offering free cigarettes to research participants. The client British American Tobacco has said that the Colmar Brunton breached the agreed protocols and was taking responsibility for the incident.
When I read this article it did make me think about how I would handle such a project. I came to the conclusion that research with the primary aim of getting more people to smoke cigarettes is a distasteful business and an area where I would be compelled to take an ethical stand. I’m sure on reflection the good people at Brunton wish they had thought more carefully about this project.