When a psychologist is working out how to undertake a particular study, it is important that they consider whether what they are doing and how they are doing it is going to be ethical. All universities and research organisations have panels that judge whether research is ethical or not, and in the UK psychological research also needs to meet the requirements of the British Psychological Society (BPS), who specify a code of ethics and conduct, which includes:
- Research should not include risks to the psychological wellbeing, physical health, personal values or dignity of participants.
- Participants should give informed consent before taking part in research.
- Participants should be able to stop participating in the research at any point.
The principles cover a number of other very important points, such as confidentiality, debriefing and protection. This activity is going to focus on the three principles above and you are going to have a go at applying them to a specific research project.