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However important the issue under investigation psychologists need to remember that they have a duty to respect the rights and dignity of research participants.This means that they must abide by certain moral principles and rules of conduct.Participants must be given information relating to: After the research is over the participant should be able to discuss the procedure and the findings with the psychologist.
Rosenthal and Rosnow (1984) also talk about the potential costs of failing to carry out certain research. Who is to judge whether the ends justify the means?
Finally, if you are ever in doubt as to whether research is ethical or not it is worthwhile remembering that if there is a conflict of interest between the participants and the researcher it is the interests of the subjects that should take priority.
Before the study begins the researcher must outline to the participants what the research is about, and then ask their consent (i.e. An adult (18ys ) capable of giving permission to participate in a study can provide consent.
Parents/legal guardians of minors can also provide consent to allow their children to participate in a study.
In Britain ethical guidelines for research are published by the British Psychological Society and in America by the American Psychological Association.
The purpose of these codes of conduct is to protect research participants, the reputation of psychology and psychologists themselves.(b) Institutional Ethics Committee (IEC): for non routine research.(c) External Ethics Committee (EEC): for research that is externally regulated (e.g. Committees review proposals to assess if the potential benefits of the research are justifiable in the light of possible risk of physical or psychological harm.Studies must now undergo an extensive review by an institutional review board (US) or ethics committee (UK) before they are implemented.All UK research requires ethical approval by one or more of the following: (a) Department Ethics Committee (DEC): for most routine research.For example, if studying children, make sure their participation is brief as they get tired easily and have a limited attention span.Researchers are not always accurately able to predict the risks of taking part in a study and in some cases a therapeutic debriefing may be necessary if participants have become disturbed during the research (as happened to some participants in Zimbardo’s prisoners/guards study).This means you must not embarrass, frighten, offend or harm participants.Normally, the risk of harm must be no greater than in ordinary life, i.e.Researchers must ensure that those taking part in research will not be caused distress.They must be protected from physical and mental harm.