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Lecture 3

Lecture 3 - Ethics in Research.docx

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Psychology 2800E
Doug Hazlewood

Ethics in Research Prologue A. What is “ethics”?  A branch of philosophy concerned with moral issues of “right” and “wrong”  To behave “ethically” is to do what is morally right B. Why do scientists need an ethical code of conduct?  Most scientists put their faith in the good judgment of their fellow scientists; they won’t do anything wrong to their participants, but seriously misguided  The Tuskegee Syphilis study (1932): A treatment for syphilis was deliberately withheld from patients  The Willowbrook Hepatitis study (1956): Children with cognitive disabilities deliberately infected with hepatitis  Medical experiments in German concentration camps during WW2  The Nuremberg Trials (1946): 20 scientists charged with willing participation in crimes against humanity (after 140 days of testimony, 16 found guilty; 7 hanged)  Set the stage of modern terms for defining ethical codes of conduct Part 1: Ethical Codes of Conduct A. The Nuremberg Code (published in 1947 (one year after trials); 10 principles for the ethical treatment of humans in research)  1 principle: “the voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential”,  6 principles focus on protecting participants from physical and mental suffering  3 principles emphasize that research must have a useful purpose and be conducted by trained professionals B. Ethical Codes in Psychology 1. APA (1953): A code for clinical psychologists  APA (1973): expanded; adds sections with code for research psychologists  APA (2010): Current version (Chapter 3 W&M) 2. CPA (1978…2000): Code of ethics for psychologists 3. Tri-Council policy statement on ethical conduct for research involving humans (TCPS, 2010)  The 3 Canadian research councils:  CIHR : Canadian institutes for health research (medical research)  SSHRC: Social sciences and humanities research council  NSERC: Natural sciences and engineering research council  Rather than the 3 having different ethical codes of conduct, they made 1 code of conduct that governs research for all 3  TCPS governs all research at Western (including honors theses) Part 2: Eight Principles of the TCPS Principle 1: Respect for Human Dignity  A “moral imperative”  The Cardinal Principle on which all other principles are based 1. Don’t treat research participants as “objects” to be studied; treat them with dignity and respect, 2. Be concerned with their safety and welfare Principle 2: Respect for free and informed consent 1. Participants have a right to be informed about anything that might influence their willingness to participate (purpose, procedures, and possible risks) 2. Must consent (agree) to participate  Can withdraw consent at any time without penalty  Participant can feel free to skip questions that they don’t want to answer in a questionnaire  Consent should be obtained in writing (see Labs) 3. Informed consent must be freely given:  Consent must be voluntary (no “coercion”, “undue influence”)  Avoid subtle forms of pressure (e.g., grades, large monetary incentives; highly attractive benefits) Principle 3: Respect for vulnerable persons (e.g., children)  Obtain informed consent from legal guardian  Obtain assent from participants (do they want to participate) Principle 4: Respect for privacy and confidentiality  People have a legal right to privacy  You have obligation to keep data confidential (personal information that identifies participants must be kept private) 
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