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Ethics

Ethics

Ethics are a set of guidelines which psychologists carrying out research should follow.

The following list includes a summary of the ethical criteria proposed by the British Psychological Society for the conduct of research.

The British Psychological Society issued revised ethical principles in June 1990. In the conduct of their research, psychologists should always consider the following;

Consent; Have the subjects of the study made an informed consent to take part? Have the parents of child subjects given informed consent to the research procedures? Have payments been used to induce risk taking behaviour?

Deception; Have the subjects been deceived? Was there any other way to carry out the study other than by using deception? Have the procedures been approved by other psychologists?

Debriefing; Have the subjects been effectively debriefed? Has any stress caused by the procedures been removed?

Withdrawal from the investigation; Are the subjects clear that they can withdraw from the study at any time without penalty or scorn?

Confidentiality; Participants in psychological research have the right to expect that information they provide will be treated confidentially.

Protection of participants; Investigators must protect participants from physical and mental harm during the investigation.

Observational research; Unless the participants give the consent to being observed, observational research must only take place where those observed could normally be expected to be observed by strangers.

Giving advice; Psychological advice must only be given if the psychologist is qualified in the area that the advice is requested in.

Colleagues; Psychologists should take action if they believe that any of the above principles are being violated by a colleague.