| Published: October 18, 2018

The Ethic of Beneficence: A Critical Overview

Dr. Suhas Shetgovekar

Professor, Discipline of Psychology, SOSS, IGNOU, New Delhi, India Google Scholar More about the auther

DIP: 18.01.014/20180604

DOI: 10.25215/0604.014


Beneficence is a significant and premier ethical issue that can also be termed as the main goal of any research. It is usually combined with nonmaleficence. Beneficence and nonmaleficence have been included as Principal A under General Principles of American Psychological Association (APA) and imply that any research that is carried out should benefit the participants and should not harm them in any way. Due care needs to be taken in this direction to ensure safety and wellbeing of the participants. Beneficence and nonmaleficence also include safeguarding of the welfare and rights of the participants. The researchers need to be aware about personal (including the physical and mental health of the researcher), financial, social, organisational and political factors that can interfere with ensuring the welfare and safety of the participants. Any research is to be carried out with main goal of benefit to the participants as well as the society in general. However, recently, there has been a shift in this, as many a times research is carried out not for the overall benefit of the participants or the society but for reasons like academic progress and financial benefits. This can lead to research that does not fully contribute the existing fund of knowledge and violates the foremost ethical issue of beneficence and nonmaleficence. A researcher can also come across a number of challenges and dilemmas while practicing beneficence.  Some of the challenges and dilemmas that will be covered in this paper deal with autonomy vs beneficence, minimal risk and research with high or moderate risk but high benefits, that can lead to conflict in the researcher about the study. The risk and benefit ratio also needs to be calculated while carrying out any research and the research needs to be designed in such a way as to ensure maximum benefit and minimum risk. Balancing beneficence and nonmaleficence in a research is also a significant challenge faced by any researcher that will be covered in this paper. 


Ethic, Beneficence

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ISSN 2348-5396

ISSN 2349-3429

DIP: 18.01.014/20180604

DOI: 10.25215/0604.014

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Published in   Volume 06, Issue 4, October-December, 2018

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