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JAMA Guide to Statistics and Methods
February 7, 2017

Equipoise in Research: Integrating Ethics and Science in Human Research

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Philosophy, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Copyright 2017 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved.

JAMA. 2017;317(5):525-526. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.0016

The principle of equipoise states that, when there is uncertainty or conflicting expert opinion about the relative merits of diagnostic, prevention, or treatment options, allocating interventions to individuals in a manner that allows the generation of new knowledge (eg, randomization) is ethically permissible.1,2 The principle of equipoise reconciles 2 potentially conflicting ethical imperatives: to ensure that research involving human participants generates scientifically sound and clinically relevant information while demonstrating proper respect and concern for the rights and interests of study participants.1