Health Students as Study Subjects in Research: A Review of their Incorporation and Ethical Implications

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someoneShare on Google+

Nicolás Astete; Alain Arias & Ramón Fuentes


The aim of this study was to know the implications of including health students as subjects of research study. A review of the literature was carried out in the databases PUBMED, EMBASE, SCOPUS, EBSCOhost and SciELO, without limits of years and with eligibility criteria. A total of 215 articles was found, a selection was made of these, and studies were eliminated that referred to other vulnerable populations, or that evaluated psychological characteristics of the students, with no relation to their participation as subjects of the study. With the exception of a qualitative interview study, all are descriptive studies of narrative reviews, letters to the editor, or surveys, which express certain considerations that must be addressed when using students as study subjects. It is necessary to carry out studies in other student populations, and with a greater rigor in their methodology, in order to evaluate the real educational benefit of their participation and their perceptions. It is important that the scientific community generate a guide to consolidate the criteria that should be considered whenselectingstudentsasstudysubjects. Thiswouldundoubtedly, allow researchers, ethical review institutions and editors of scientific journals to better evaluate studies in these populations.

KEY WORDS: Students; Subject of investigation; Research ethics; Vulnerable populations.

How to cite this article

ASTETE, N.; ARIAS, A. & FUENTES, R. Health students as study subjects in research: A review of their incorporation and ethical implications. Int. J. Morphol., 37(1):149-158, 2019.