Dealing with Ethical Issues



This is one way of dealing with ethical issues as it allows for particpants to be informed of the true aims of the study and so they have the chance to discuss any concerns they have. 

By debreifing participants are given the opportunity to withdraw their data from the study.

However, by debreifing you may not be able to return the participant to their original state i.e. the same may have already been done (such as in Milgrams study when some people suffered emotional problems after the study).

1 of 5

Presumptive Consent

This is how we deal with the ethical issue of consent.

This is when you ask a group of people similar to the prospective participants if they would agree as well.

A problem with this is that you aren't gaining consent from the real participants, who might have a different opinion than the ones asked previously. 

2 of 5

Ethical Committee

In every insitution where research takes place there is a ethical committee who must approve of the study before it begins. 

They look at all the ethical issues and suggests how they could be dealt with. 

They also weigh up the benefits of research against the possible costs to the participants.

However it is not always possible to foresee the implications which could arise (Zimbardo) and also ethical committee's might agree to research dispite the ethical costs if the scientific evidence gained will be high. 

3 of 5

Professional Bodies

Professional bodies such as the BPS (British Psychological Society) and APA (American Psychological Association) produce ethical guildlines and codes of conduct.

The intention of such guildelines is to tell psychologists what behaviour is acceptable and to tell them how to deal with ethical dilemma's 

The 'rule and sanctions' approach is rather general because of the impossibility of covering every conceivable situation that researchers may encounter.

Also people may break the rules without getting caught.

4 of 5


Way of dealing with ethical issues is by punishing those who behaved in an unethical manner following sanctions which may be implemented.

An example of this is one psychotherapist who was inappropriate towards one of her patients (she sent her gifts, told others confidential information about her etc...).

The Health and Care Professionals Council decided that she was incapable of appropriate boundaries and had her removed from her job.

A problem with this is that it took from 2007 to 2013 until she was struck off and during this time the pyschotherapist coud have continued to be inappropriate towards other patients. 

5 of 5


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all PY3- Possible questions resources »