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Which of the following is true about conflicts of interest?

Which of the following is true about conflicts of interest?

a. A financial dimension must be present in order for it to be a conflict of interest.
b. Conflicts of interest increase the likelihood of bias.
c. A project must be funded by an external source in order for any conflicts of interest to be present.
d. Researchers are not permitted to have any conflicts of interest.

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The Correct Answer for the given question is option b. Conflicts of interest increase the likelihood of bias.


In research, a conflict of interest is a situation in which a person or organization has a financial or other stake in the outcome of the research. Conflicts of interest can lead to bias in the design, conduct, and reporting of research. There are many ways that conflicts of interest can lead to bias. For example, researchers may be more likely to choose study designs that are favorable to their financial interests. They may also be more likely to recruit participants who are likely to produce desired results. And they may be more likely to downplay findings that could damage their interests.

The best way to avoid bias due to conflicts of interest is for researchers to disclose their conflicts upfront and for journals to require reviewers and editors to disclose their own conflicts of interest. When reviewing research proposals and papers, journal editors and reviewers should consider whether the authors’ conflicts could have influenced the results.

Answer Explanation for Question: Which of the following is true about conflicts of interest?

Conflicts of interest increase the likelihood of bias. It is possible for someone to find himself- or herself in a position where the perceived or actual risk of bias or poor judgment is increased by two or more competing interests. Both personally and professionally, such situations arise frequently. Conflicts of interest are collectively referred to as such. Financial gain or personal gain have become synonymous with this term.

A person’s actions or behaviors that result in personal or financial gain for that person (or a member of their immediate family or household) is exploitative behavior. A conflict of interest is a situation where demands from separate organizations interfere with duties and responsibilities of one or more of those organizations (e.g., outside consulting activities overlapping with primary employment duties). Conflict of conscience is yet another type of conflict. As you must maintain objectivity while acting on or evaluating something that goes against your convictions, the conflict arises.

A conflict of interest may arise during peer review, for example, if you are asked to review a manuscript about fetal stem cell research, but believe that such research is wrong because the cells come from aborted fetuses. It is not inherently bad for scientists to encounter conflicts. In fact, they should be expected. Unwanted, inappropriate, or negative outcomes can result from how they are handled.

Conflict of Interest in Ethics

A conflict of interest in ethics is when a person has two competing interests or loyalties. For example, a conflict of interest might arise when a person is trying to decide whether to disclose information about a potential new product. On the one hand, the person might want to keep the information secret in order to gain an advantage over competitors. On the other hand, the person might feel obligated to share the information in order to help others make informed decisions.

People often have conflicting interests when they are part of organizations or groups with different goals. For instance, members of a board of directors might have a duty to protect the organization’s financial interests, but they might also have personal investments that could be harmed by the organization’s decisions.

Conflict Theory – Assumptions of Conflict Theory | Fundamentals of Sociology


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