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Psychology unit 4 research methods
Issues with confidentiality- participants must be anonymous; the researcher
shouldn't use the participants' real name or share any personal information
including photos when referring to a particular participant. Instead pseudonyms,
letters or numbers should be used instead of the participants' real name
Issues with consent- participants should be able to give their fully informed
consent before taking part in this investigation. They should know the hypothesis
and what the study involves, although this could invalidate results due to demand
Prior general consent- involves getting a general view of the experiment and what
is involved in the experiment. This reduces demand characteristics but it still
means the participant isn't fully informed about the actual investigation
Presumptive consent- informing participants fully in one group about the
experiment but not using this group in the study. Instead a 2nd group is used in the
study but will not be informed of any aspect of the study or being given the
chance to give their consent when informed of the study. The investigator assumes
that if group 1 were happy to give their consent then group 2 will be too.
However, this is still not getting the fully informed consent of those actually
taken part in the study.
Issues with deception- participants may be misinformed about some aspects of the
experiment. Active deception is lying about the experiment and passive deception
is telling the patient about the experiment but missing out some details. If
participants are lied to then they don't know the aim of the study and so can't give
their fully informed consent. However, deception is sometimes necessary as it
removes demand characteristics so the results can be valid.
Issues with the right to withdraw- participants should be told they can leave the
study at any time. They should be debriefed when they leave and asked if they are
still happy for their data to be used. If they don't wish their data to be used then
the investigator must destroy it.
Issues with harm- should be protected from stress (psychological harm) and
distress (physical harm). The experimenter must decide whether a participant is
too stressed to continue and must let them leave is they want to. If necessary,
participants should be offered counselling at the end of the experiment.
Debriefing- the experimenter must thank the participants for taking part and tell
them the general results and the aim of the experiment and offer counselling to
those who need it in extreme cases. They must ask the participants if they are still