Ethics in Research Psychology Essay

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What is ethics?
If one was to ask the question, “What do ethics mean to you?” These responses would be likely to follow. “Ethics is what my feelings tell me is right or wrong.” “Ethics have to do with my religious beliefs.” “Being ethical means following the laws.” Those replies would be expected. Many do relate ethics with their feelings, but it is not a matter of following feelings. In fact, we will often times stray from living ethically if we were guided by our feelings. Although religions urge high ethical standards, if ethics were limited to religion, ethics would only apply to religious people. Following the law is not the same as being ethical. Ethical standards may be incorporated in the law, but laws, won’t always conform to
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To ensure that a researcher’s enthusiasm for knowledge and understanding doesn’t let them get carried away, clear guidelines for ethical behaviour in research, a Code of Ethics, have been established by governments, institutions and various professional societies such as the American Psychological Association(APA), the British Psychological Society (BPS) and the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI).

Psychologists are committed to increasing scientific and professional knowledge of behaviour and people's understanding of themselves and others and to the use of such knowledge to improve the condition of individuals, organisations, and society (APA, 2010). The PSI preamble (2010) states “the authority of psychologists derives from the scientific methods of investigation on which their knowledge is based, and the ethics which govern all their professional activity. They accept that codes of ethics are necessary to protect the interest of clients and prevent misuse of psychological knowledge. The Ethics Code provides a common set of principles and standards upon which psychologists build their professional and scientific work. The following is a rough and general summary of the principles that are addressed by the APA, PSI and BPS;
1. Beneficence and Nonmaleficence:
Psychologists should seek to benefit and avoid causing harm to those they work with professionally.
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