Socially Assistive Robots, Older Adults and Research Ethics: The Case for Case-Based Ethics Training

Linda Battistuzzi, Chris Papadopoulos, Tetiana Hill, Nina Castro, Barbara Bruno, Antonio Sgorbissa

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Most studies on socially assistive robots (SARs) in elder care are conducted in care homes and recruit participants with some degree of cognitive impairment. The ethical dimension in these studies thus requires careful attention, suggesting that the researchers involved should be offered specific research ethics training. To meet this need in CARESSES—an international multidisciplinary project that aims to design and evaluate the first culturally competent SAR for the care of older adults—a research ethics training module for the project researchers was developed. The training module is largely based on case-based learning (CBL), a widely recognized approach to learning and instruction that is regarded as highly effective across multiple disciplines. In this paper, we argue that research ethics training should be offered to robotics investigators involved in research on SARs in elder care, and we provide an overview of the ethical issues involved in conducting research with SARs and older adults in care homes. Finally, we show how CBL can be used for research ethics training in this context.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Social Robotics
Early online date27 May 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 May 2020


  • Case-based learning
  • Elder care
  • Ethics training
  • Pepper
  • Research ethics
  • Robot ethics
  • Socially assistive robot


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