Issues and Debates: Five ethical guidelines when using humans (Edexcel A2 Psychology)

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  • Created by: Emma
  • Created on: 20-06-11 18:57

1 - Informed Consent

  • Hiding the aims of an experiment from participants avoids demand characteristics, but, ideally, researchers should obtain full and informed consent from participants by giving them sufficient information about the procedure to decide whether they want to participate
  • Payment, or researcher's position of authority, should not be used to coerce participants into giving consent

Presumptive consent - using a group of people similar to those who will become participants, the researcher can ask whether they would find the study acceptable if they were involved.

Partially informed, or prior general consent - participants are informed in a general way about the nature of the study, but are not given any specific information which could lead to demand characteristics/unnatural behaviours

Retrospective consent - consent can be obtained from participants at the end of the study in the debriefing (at this point, participants may ask for their data to be withdrawn from the study)

  • Hofling did not get up-front consent from the nurses, so he had to obtain it retrospectively
  • Godden and Baddeley (1975) - the divers needed fairly fully informed consent because they had to know what to do, but the main point about environment for learning and recall was not explained, to avoid affecting the findings

2 - Deception

  • Deceiving participants should be avoided whenever…

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