Ethical Implications of Research and Theory


Ethical implications of research and theory

Researchers in psychology need to be aware of how participants and wider society can be affected by research and theories. 

Ethical implications of the research process

In the past, ethical guidelines were not well established. Therefore, studies that violated all ethical codes such as Zimbardo’s prison study were conducted. These studies have triggered a focus on ethics, and all psychologists have to submit research proposals to ethics boards for checks. 

Ethical implications of research studies relate to the treatment of participants.

Lack of informed consent

Informed consent is when participants make an informed decision as to whether they want to participate in the study. For consent to be informed, participants need to know the procedure, purpose, aims and any harm they may come to. However, there may be cases in which deception is necessary to the participants.

Ways to deal with this are:

  1. Consent forms: These should include all the factors mentioned above. 
  2. Presumptive consent: Ask a sample of the target population whether they would be happy to join the experiment after explaining the full details. If most say yes you can assume the actual sample would be happy to take part.
  3. Prior general consent: Ask the sample who will become your participants if they would be willing to take part in a study where deception would be involved a period of time before the study.


Deception is a general issue referring to any instance in research where participants have been lied to or misled

Ways to deal with this are:

  1. Cost-benefit analysis: This is where the costs of deceiving the participants are compared with the benefits of the research.
  2. Debrief: If deception is involved in a study, participants…


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