Discuss ways of dealing with ethical issues in using humans in psychological research (15)

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Paragraph 1. Ethical committees

Point: There are many ways of dealing with the different ethics issues that can arise in studies.
A main system that prevents ethical issues is ethical committees. Every institution of research has a committee that approves the study prior to it being done. They weigh up the cost of the participant against the benefits that the research could have, and consider ways of minimising ethical issues in the long term.

Example: For example the BPS code of ethics focuses on respect, competence, responsibility and integrity. One issue with ethical committees is they can be biased, if they could earn money from the study or it could benefit them in some way. Another is that some costs don't arise until after the study has been done.

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Paragraph 2. ethical guidelines

Point: Another way of dealing with ethical issues is ethical guidelines. Guidelines are created by professional bodies, which explain where boundaries are in scientific experiments and what is unacceptable.

Example: For example the Canadian psychological association show various situations that may come to light, and experimenters discuss the potential ethical issues.

Streng/weaknes: This system is good as it minimises ethical issues prior to the study taking place, and guidelines are a formal system for any experimenter doing an experiment to follow, so they don't have to change their experiment to fit the guidelines later on. However a down side is that is is subjective, and not all problems that could occur are covered. 

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Paragraph 3. Debriefing

Point: A way of dealing with ethical issues in a study would be debriefing, which informs the participant of all aspects of the study after it has been done. This ensures that the participant knows they have the right to withdraw their data, and even add data not mentioned in the study. Debriefing aims to ensure there are no negative consequences from participating in the study, and the participant is in just as sound mind as when they entered.

Example: A good example is Milgram's study of obedience which had an extremely thorough debrief, the participants even met the actors in the study.

Streng/ Weaknes: An issues with debriefing is that if all participants choose to withdraw their data, then there would be no experiment to publish, even if the findings were really significant. Another is if psychological harm was inflicted on participants, it can't always be undone.

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