Is it our duty to participate?

A subject that we have danced around some during many class discussions is the topic of whose duty it is to participate. Who is responsible for providing subjects or samples for scientists to study? People can be useful to research in many ways, from donating their time and allowing themselves to be screened such as in an MRI to donating their samples to a biobank in order for researchers to use these samples in current and future projects. The question of whose responsibility it is not only comes up in our class discussions but also in the book that we are reading. No one can seem to give a clear, or at least agreeable, answer as to who it should be. I say that no one can give an agreeable answer because no matter what is said, it seems as though it can be argued. We seem to have a lot of mixed ideas about whether or not we should feel a duty to participate in research. However, I have a tendency to side with the authors in the book. I believe that there should be some kind of duty to participate in scientific studies of some sort. While we may not have to participate in all of them, I believe that it is important for individuals to make an effort to help to further the research that is being done. Why? Because it is likely that we can all benefit from the advances that are being made from a lot of the research that is being done. If people sign up for studies that can contribute to finding a cure for cancer or some other widespread disease, it is also likely that we will all benefit from these research outcomes, at least indirectly. While we may not each develop cancer, or whatever the disease may be, it is likely that our family members or somebody else dear to us will be diagnosed with a disease that has the potential to be treated by current research. So to me it seems that everyone is likely to receive a benefit if we continue to increase our knowledge. This is why I believe that it is important for people to make an effort to participate. To me it seems that we can compare this to a group project. If everyone participates and gets a good grade there are no problems. However, if only half of the group participates and manage to get a good grade, the other half of the group just gets a free ride and also receives the benefits. To me this seems unfair. While I understand that not all people are comfortable with participating in research and this is fine, I do believe that it is important for those of us who are willing and able to take part. 

Now, all this being said, I have never participated in research. I quite frankly have no idea how to get involved. And this is where I believe that the people doing the research need to step up their game. I believe that information on how to become involved by participating in studies needs to become more readily available. I believe that more people would participate if they easily had access to the information that informed them on how to do so. Instead, it seems as though people have to search out on their own how to get involved, and this may be part of what prevents people from getting involved. In order for scientific knowledge to continue to advance, I believe that it is important for both the public to change their view on the importance of getting involved and also for the researchers to make their recruiting tactics more openly available to the general public. 

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