Essay, Research Paper
Ethical Procedures and Guidelines Defining Pschycological Research
Psychological research is often a very controversial subject among experts. Many people feel thatthere are many moral standards that are often not followed. Others may believe that there is much harmful misinformation that can often be harmful to subject and others. Still others believe thatpsychology is a lot of theories without any reinforcing information. Whether any of these assumptions may be true or not, there have been guidelines created which serve to silence many
critics of the science. These guidelines make research safe and structured, which will protect the subjects from unnecessary harm. As psychology advances, there is seen a need for more rules and regulations for the ensurement of subject comfort. Hence, there are many more rules now than even twenty years ago. These rules really encompass a few broad but very important ideas. One of these ideas is protecting the dignity of the subjects. Another important component of this code refers to consent. All of these will be explained in greater detail below. Another gray area in psychology lies in the deception of subjects. There are some basic rules guiding how deceptions can be carried out.There is a large section of the code that was made with regards to animal research. The last major section of the ASA ethical guidelines has to do with giving credit where credit is due, and information sources. All of these regulations make research safer for the subjects and increase the effectively of psychological research. In psychological research, protecting subjects dignity is very important. Without willing subjects the research process would be brought to a halt. In order to protect the subjects’ dignity, the lab
experiments must be well prepared, and ethically appropriate. Only subjects who are targeted should be affected, and if a large number of people are to be affected, psychologists should consult experts on that specific group. Psychologists are to be held directly responsible for the ethics that are utilized during the experiment. In addition to this psychologists are bound by the normal, governmental laws concerning research. In addition to these regulations concerning the law and standards, psychologists are required to inform subjects of the basic procedure that they will be agreeing to. This flows into the idea of informed consent.Informed consent means basically that the subject must be informed of the basic procedure that they will be agreeing to. There should not be any variations from the agreed upon plan. Whenever there is a doubt about whether or not informed consent is necessary , an institution or expert in the area of the subjects should be consulted. One complicating factor in this sector is deception in research. In order to conduct certain experiments, it is helpful to psychologists to deceive the participants, with respect to exactly which experiment is being performed upon them. The rules concerning this are effective, but (necessarily) rather vague. First of all, psychologists are never supposed to use deception unless no other alternative of method for the experiment at hand is available. The deception cannot be in a manner that would affect the participants’ decision to participate. And any deception that takes place should always be explained as soon as possible, after the experiment has reached its conclusion.In order to preserve subjects dignity, the information about the experiment that the subjects have
participated in should be made available to the subjects as soon as possible. This includes, the exact nature of the experiment, the results , and the conclusions of the experiment. This will probably have been already agreed upon by the experimenter and the subject, but just in case, the experimenters are required to honor all commitments made to the subject. This improves the credibility of the whole science, as a whole. When the subjects are not human, there are still rules governing the treatment of such subjects. These pertain mostly to protecting the (relative) comfort of these subjects during experimentation.Basically, when experimenting upon animals, basic care procedures must be followed. When anesthetic or euthanasical procedures are to be used, they must be carried out in a fashion that will be both professional and comfortable to the subjects. Obviously, the procedures that can be carried out upon animals are more drastic than those on humans because there is no informed consent involved in the study of animals, and the procedures can be justified because the results are purportedly supposed to assist in the betterment of the human race. The last area of ASA code lies in reporting information. The natural plagiarism laws are, as always, in effect. This is in addition to many precise scientific falsification laws. These state that a scientist may not falsify or fabricate information, first of all. Also, if a psychologist discovers any significant errors in the study after the fact, steps to correct these errors must be taken immediately. Also, the psychologists must give credit when it is necessary, and never neglect to leave any information out. All of these regulations seem to be very logical, and it is well that they should. They have been developed over hundreds of years throughout the study of psychology. With respect to current times, these rules seem like they are sufficient, but the book of code should never be closed. Therewill always be a new situation where a new addendum is required to protect a subject, or to assist in the research. As is the case with therapy, there will, without a doubt, be court cases that will change the code of ethics. But the ASA codes seem to be as proficient as any that are practical in this age. Some of these regulations may inhibit the immediate results that can be gained, but without them, there would be a definite lack of willing participants to volunteer. This would essentially bring psychological research upon humans to a halt.