A systematic review of empirical research into ethics in general practice

Wendy A. Rogers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Much of the bioethical literature addresses the problems of tertiary medicine, with little attention to the daily concerns of general practitioners (GPs). The present review assesses the current state of research into the range and nature of ethical issues for GPs, looking specifically at the content of the research, the methods employed, and the philosophical framework of the research. A systematic search of MEDLINE, CINAHL, and Sociofile identified nine articles which form the basis for this review. The majority of the research reviewed here is quantitative in nature, using hypothetical cases with closed questions and categorical responses. No consistently significant variables were identified. Decisions appear to be inconsistent in terms of theoretical models and moral psychology. Ethical issues of concern to GPs differed from those commonly reported in the bioethical literature. There is a paucity of research into the ethical concerns of general practice. The existing body of research is quantitative in nature, leaving many unanswered questions concerning the reasons behind the decisions of GPs. There is a need for qualitative studies to further our understanding of this area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)733-737
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Journal of General Practice
Issue number424
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Empirical research
  • Ethics

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