Psychology Ethics Essay Questions

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Debriefing should take place as soon as possible and be as full as possible; experimenters should take reasonable steps to ensure that participants understand debriefing.

“The purpose of debriefing is to remove any misconceptions and anxieties that the participants have about the research and to leave them with a sense of dignity, knowledge, and a perception of time not wasted” (Harris, 1998).

If they think it would be OK then it can be assumed that the real participants will also find it acceptable. However, a problem with this method is that there might there be a mismatch between how people think they would feel/behave and how they actually feel and behave during a study?

In order that consent be ‘informed’, consent forms may need to be accompanied by an information sheet for participants setting out information about the proposed study (in lay terms) along with details about the investigators and how they can be contacted.

However, it is not always possible to gain informed consent.

Where it is impossible for the researcher to ask the actual participants, a similar group of people can be asked how they would feel about taking part.Participants must be given information relating to: After the research is over the participant should be able to discuss the procedure and the findings with the psychologist.They must be given a general idea of what the researcher was investigating and why, and their part in the research should be explained.For example, it might be that a study causes psychological or physical discomfort to participants, maybe they suffer pain or perhaps even come to serious harm.On the other hand the investigation could lead to discoveries that benefit the participants themselves or even have the potential to increase the sum of human happiness.Rosenthal and Rosnow (1984) also talk about the potential costs of failing to carry out certain research. Who is to judge whether the ends justify the means?Finally, if you are ever in doubt as to whether research is ethical or not it is worthwhile remembering that if there is a conflict of interest between the participants and the researcher it is the interests of the subjects that should take priority.participants should not be exposed to risks greater than or additional to those encountered in their normal lifestyles.The researcher must also ensure that if vulnerable groups are to be used (elderly, disabled, children, etc.), they must receive special care.Moral issues rarely yield a simple, unambiguous, right or wrong answer.It is therefore often a matter of judgement whether the research is justified or not.


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