you're reading...
Research Methods

5) Ethical issues in research

Ethical considerations in psychological research

When conducting experiments with humans there are several strict guidelines researchers must follow:

Deception – a participant must not feel like he has been deceived, this can be dealt with using consent or a debriefing
Right to withdraw – The participant must know they can withdraw from the experiment at any point
Protection from harm – The participant must not be harmed in the experiment
Informed consent – The participant must give their consent that they want to participate in the study
Confidentiality – The participant must have the option of remaining anonymous or withdrawing their data from the findings
Privacy – The researcher must respect the participant’s privacy


Experiments with animals

The main reason for using animals is when we can’t use humans. However using animals in experiments provides different problems to humans, for example they obviously can’t tell us when they experience pain or harm.

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 came up with ‘3 Rs’ to explain these guidelines

Reduction – Use as minimal amount of animals

Replacement – Try and use alternate methods if possible

Refinement – Use improved techniques to reduce stress


Dealing with ethical issues

Bodies, such as the BPS, have been set up to decide whether a study can go ahead, and if they say it can’t but the researcher still continues it is also their responsibility to punish the researcher.



About Sam Cook

A blog set up to help A Level students revise Sociology


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: