Medical Dominance within Research Ethics Committees

Stephen Humphreys, Hilary Thomas, Robyn Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Qualitative research is reported which explores the perceptions of members of the U.K.’s independent Phase I ethics committees (IECs) about key issues identified following a literature review. Audio-recorded interviews were conducted with ten expert and ten lay members from all IECs except the one to which the lead author was attached. Transcripts were thematically analyzed following a broadly hermeneutical approach. The findings—dealing with such matters as recruitment strategies and length of service; attitudes towards member categories, published ethics guidelines, and the adequacy of insurance; levels of training and views on achieving a recognised level of competence—have an intrinsic interest, but it is when the findings are considered collectively using Freidson’s theory of professional dominance that they reveal the influence the medical profession can have in shaping ethics review
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)366-388
Number of pages22
JournalAccountability in Research
Issue number6
Early online date1 May 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2014


  • medical dominance
  • member categories
  • member perceptions
  • professional dominance
  • research ethics committees
  • roles


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