The use of experimental methods in the study of psychology and their ethics

Ethical considerations for experimental research will be examined in this module. Describe why adhering to ethical principles is important in research.

The use of experimental methods in the study of psychology and their ethics

Saul McLeodpublishedupdated Ethics refers to the correct rules of conduct necessary when carrying out research.

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We have a moral responsibility to protect research participants from harm. 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. 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.

Moral issues rarely yield a simple, unambiguous, right or wrong answer. It is therefore often a matter of judgement whether the research is justified or not. For example, it might be that a study causes psychological or physical discomfort to participants, maybe they suffer pain or perhaps even come to serious harm.

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On the other hand the investigation could lead to discoveries that benefit the participants themselves or even have the potential to increase the sum of human happiness. Rosenthal and Rosnow also talk about the potential costs of failing to carry out certain research.

Who is to weigh up these costs and benefits? 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.

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: 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.

Ethics in Experimental Research - Center for Innovation in Research and Teaching Saul McLeodpublished The prime method of inquiry in science is the experiment.

These committees may request researchers make changes to the study's design or procedure, or in extreme cases deny approval of the study altogether. Some of the more important ethical issues are as follows: Informed Consent Whenever possible investigators should obtain the consent of participants.

The use of experimental methods in the study of psychology and their ethics

They also need to know what it is that they are agreeing to. In other words the psychologist should, so far as is practicable explain what is involved in advance and obtain the informed consent of participants.

Before the study begins the researcher must outline to the participants what the research is about, and then ask their consent i. However, it is not always possible to gain informed consent. Where it is impossible for the researcher to ask the actual participants, a similar group of people can be asked how they would feel about taking part.

If they think it would be OK then it can be assumed that the real participants will also find it acceptable. This is known as presumptive consent. Participants must be given information relating to: Statement that participation is voluntary and that refusal to participate will not result in any consequences or any loss of benefits that the person is otherwise entitled to receive.

Purpose of the research. All foreseeable risks and discomforts to the participant if there are any. These include not only physical injury but also possible psychological.

Procedures involved in the research. Benefits of the research to society and possibly to the individual human subject. Length of time the subject is expected to participate. Person to contact for answers to questions or in the event of injury or emergency.Experimental psychologists use scientific methods to collect data and perform research.

Often, their work builds, one study at a time, to a larger finding or conclusion. Some researchers have devoted their entire career to answering one . Psychology > Developmental Psychology > Developmental Psychology Research Methods >Ethical Standards Of Research Ethical Standards Of Research The study of behavioral development involves the use of both human research subjects of all ages and animals from chicken embryos to .

Ethics in Research – The Web Center for Social Research Methods - Some of the key terminology associated with research ethics are described on this site, as well as a brief history of ethical considerations in research.

Psychology is the scientific study of people's thoughts, behaviors, and feelings. Shannon's question about learning is part of psychology.


Shannon's question about learning is part of psychology. Learning Objectives. Describe the history of ethics codes for scientific research with human participants.

Summarize the American Psychological Association Ethics Code—especially as it relates to informed consent, deception, debriefing, research with nonhuman animals, and scholarly integrity.

Researchers must organize participants to conduct their study. They can use a variety of data collection techniques: direct observation, questionnaire, interview, psychological test, recording body responses, examining archival files.

Experimental Methods in Psychology | Simply Psychology