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Accounting for “Research Fatigue” in Human Studies


An article published in Bioethics examines the topic of research fatigue—or psychological and emotional exhaustion both towards and as a result of participating in research. The article is meant to initiate a conversation about research fatigue experienced by marginalized communities and how the research community should respond to it.

As global interconnectivity facilitates an increasing amount of research and studies on hard-to-reach communities, research fatigue is likely to grow. Analyzing and addressing the ethical aspects of research fatigue can help mitigate its impacts on marginalized and vulnerable communities and on the quality of scientific research itself.

Research fatigue in marginalized communities is a systemic issue that requires systemic responses, noted the article’s author, Florence Ashley, of the University of Toronto. “No one wants to be the reason why their colleague can’t recruit enough participants for their study. No one wants to be the reason why studies that would promote social justice don’t get completed, and thereby contribute to ongoing inequalities,” they said. “Researchers and research ethics committees should ensure that studies are responsive to the needs of the researched community and tailored in all ways to minimize research fatigue.”

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About the Journal

Bioethics provides a forum for well-argued articles on the ethical questions raised by current issues such as: international collaborative clinical research in developing countries, organ transplants and xenotransplantation, ageing and the human lifespan, AIDS, genomics, and stem cell research. These questions are considered in relation to concrete ethical, legal and policy problems, or in terms of the fundamental concepts, principles and theories used in discussions of such problems.

About Wiley

Wiley drives the world forward with research and education. Through publishing, platforms and services, we help students, researchers, universities, and corporations to achieve their goals in an ever-changing world. For more than 200 years, we have delivered consistent performance to all of our stakeholders. The Company's website can be accessed at

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