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Abstract

The 2012 Academic Emergency Medicine consensus conference on education research in emergency medicine (EM) addressed various issues, including that of ethics in medical education research for EM. Education research in EM is essential to patient care and safety, and with recent advances in simulation and the advent of the Milestones project, it will become even more vital. Education research in EM is guided by the same principles that guide the ethical conduct of all human subjects' research: respect for persons, beneficence, and justice. Regulatory provisions and widely accepted ethical standards provide a framework for research in EM education; however, special considerations exist for education research. To ensure patient and trainee safety and to maintain the integrity of new knowledge, ethical considerations should remain at the forefront of EM education research. For EM education researchers, recognition of the vulnerability of residents, medical students, and others as research subjects is paramount. This article fills an important gap by outlining the principles guiding education research in EM, exploring the ethical challenges and approaches to education research, and offering a framework and future directions for the ethical conduct of education research in EM.