Individual autonomy in its basic form is the freedom to make your own decisions, a person must be given the opportunity, and time and respect as needed to arrive at a point that is best for them. For instance, in clinical trials, the prospective participant must be informed and should not be pressured or offered any form of encouragements to participate in a study. The Belmont report describes autonomy as one of the basic ethical principles and “incorporates at least two ethical convictions: first, that individuals should be treated as autonomous agents, and second, that persons with diminished autonomy are entitled to protection” (HHS.gov, 1979). To respect autonomy is to allow the individual to make their own decision without coercion or intrusion from the research staff. To protect those with diminished autonomy ensures that those vulnerable due to illness, disability or other circumstances that impede their freedom.
Beneficence involves the act of promoting good for others; in medicine and researches the risks of interventions maybe harmful but when one weighs the potential benefits and outcomes the professional obligations of the researcher is paramount for the safety of the patient. The Belmont report states this principle “do not harm and… maximize possible benefits and minimize possible harms” (HHS.gov, 1979). This principle can be controversial because in order to determine if something is causing harm then research must be done to learn what is harmful, and would require subjects to participate in the study (HHS.gov, 1979).