Ethical implications of research studies and theory

  • Ethical implications of research studies and theory:
  • AO1:
  • Ethical implications:
  • Ethical issues can arise when there is a conflict between Psychology's need for valid and valuable research and when preserving the rights and dignity of participants. Researchers can control the methods they use and and how they treat participants. They have less influence on how findings are presented in the media, how their work impacts public policy and how it affects perception of some groups in society. 
  • Socially sensitive research:
  • Socially sensitive research - there are potnetial social implications, either irectly for the participants in research or the class of individuals represented by the research. For example:
  • Research investigating genetic basis of criminality might have far-reaching consequences for those who take part or for the borader social groups the participants represent. 
  • Studies that tackle socially sensitive 'taboo' topics such as race or sexualty attract attention from the public. 
  • Some forms of research are socially sensitive but psychologists should not 'shy away' from them, Because of the importance of such research, psychologists may have social responsibility to carry it out (Aronson). 
  • Concerns for socially sensitive research include implications, public policy and validity. Sieber and Sanley have identified concerns: 
  • Implications: some studies may give 'scientific status' to prejudice and discrimination (difficult to predict at outset).
  • Uses/public policy: what would happen if it was used for the wrong purpose? Findings may be adopted by the government for political ends or to shape public policy. 
  • Validity of the research: some findings presented as objective in the past turned out to be fraudulent. 
  • Burt was a leading psychologist influential in establishing the 11+ examination in the UK. This was used to decide whether


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