Ethical Issues in Social Psychological Research

6240 Words Jan 11th, 2012 25 Pages
Running head: ETHICS IN RESEARCH

Ethical Issues in Social Psychological Research

Social psychological research has been conducted in response to many social concerns. Over the years the focus of research has changed greatly depending on the needs of society. However the main purpose has remained constant, which is to contribute to understanding individual thoughts, feelings, and behaviour in light of a broader social context. Social psychological research is done with both humans and animals. Therefore, researchers must adhere to certain codes of conduct in order to ensure that the participants are protected and not harmed in any way. The Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) (2000) has come up with four ethical principles
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Moreover, psychologists have a greater responsibility to caring for members of society than do members of society have among themselves. Last but not least, psychologists have the responsibility of protecting their own moral rights.
Principle II: Responsible Caring Psychologists are concerned for the benefitting and not harming those involved under their care. In addition, psychologists are required to pay special attention to the well fare of those who are most vulnerable or directly involved under their care. Obtaining informed consent is one way of guarantying that a persons well fare is protected. Psychologists are required to assess the potential harm and benefit and to continue only if the benefits prevail over the harm. In this case it is the psychologist’s responsibility to take all measures to decrease the harm and increase the benefits, as well as take all measures to correct any harmful effects. This requires that psychologists acknowledge the need for competence and self-knowledge. Therefore, psychologists only perform procedures that they are competent with and have or obtain sufficient knowledge. In addition psychologists engage in self-reflection so that they can differentiate between their own values and those persons involved under their care. Furthermore, psychologists assess harm in terms of both psychological and physical “dimensions” (p. 15). Therefore, psychologists are

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