Ethical issues involves researchers assessing and acting upon all ethical considerations involved in research before it is conducted. The main consideration of the BPS is that the health and dignity of participants should be protected. The BPS British Psychological Society has published a Code of Ethics that all psychologists have to abide by. Most research institutions (e.g. universities) have ethical committees which have to approve research projects before they take place. Before conducting research, researchers should also;
1. Seek peer advice (from colleagues)
2. Consult likely participants for their views
3. Consider alternative research methodologies
4. Establish a cost-benefit analysis of short-term and long-term consequences (from the participants point of view, distress and loss of time may be a cost however, this may be outweighed by the feeling that they have done something positive by contributing to psychological research. From the group to which the individual belongs point of view, when research is done to investigate cross-cultural differences, the research may not harm the individual however may bring about negative implications for the cultural group).
5. Assume responsibility for the research.
Avoid the mistake of confusing ethical guidelines with ethical issues.
Ethical guidelines are standards of conduct or rules of behaviour set out by the British Psychological Society (BPS) adopted by various professions. Their aim is to help guide the behaviour of professionals. Psychologists are to use the guidelines to refer to when designing a piece of research.
Ethical issues You need to know specifically about the ethical dilemmas that each of the following ethical issues can cause AND you must be able to set each one within the context of psychological research.
* Informed consent (lack of)
* Protection from harm (lack of)
Ways in which Psychologists Deal with Ethical Issues: