Two of the main issues in research is gaining informed consent and deception. Before an experiment starts the participants should be given a briefing and told they have the right to withdraw, if it is necessary to deceive them so as not to compromise the study's results they should be given a debriefing.
The BPS (British Psychological Organisation) identified four ethical principles and advice on how to deal with them:
1. Respect - To maintain the participants dignity and privacy with confidentiality and informed consent.
2. Competence - Psychologists should maintain high standards in their work.
3. Responsibility - Psychologists have responsibility over the participants and public's safety so ensuring they do not endure psychological or physical harm which could include debriefing and perhaps after care if necessary.
4. Integrity - Psychologists should report honestly and accurately.
Ethical Issues with Animals
Animals allow there to be a higher level of objectivity .
We sometimes use them when we cant use humans. However its been found that when animals are stressed they provide little information.
The BPS has some guidelines that must be followed when using animals:
- The potential results must be important enough to justify the use of animals.
- The minimal amount of animals must be used
- Any discomfort must be helped with the use of pain killers for the animals
Russell and Birch - The Three R's
Reduction - Use as minimal amount of animals
Replacement - Try and use alternate methods if possible
Refinement - Use improved techniques to reduce stress