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Outline ways in which psychologists have dealt with ethical issues in their research and consider whether these have been successful. (12 marks)

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Introduction

´╗┐Outline ways in which psychologists have dealt with ethical issues in their research and consider whether these have been successful. (12 marks) Psychologists have used a variety of ways to deal with ethical issues in their research, particularly the ethical concerns surrounding the use of deception. Prior general consent involves telling participants about the general nature of the study and asking them to role-play the experimental procedures as though they were naive participants. An important aspect of any research design, especially where deception has taken place, is the process of debriefing. ...read more.

Middle

Prior general consent has been successfully used in some research. Mixon (1972) found that in a Milgram-type obedience study, role-playing participants behaved much as Milgram?s participants did when deceived into thinking they were giving real shocks. However, studies using role-playing procedures tend to result in different findings from those where investigators have concealed their true purpose from participants. In such situations although the ethical issue has been successfully dealt with (the participants have no negative feelings due to having been deceived), the results lack validity and so are less scientifically valuable. ...read more.

Conclusion

Guidelines, such as those published by the BPS, are sometimes accused of being vague and difficult to enforce. The BPS imposes penalties on members if they infringe ethical codes in their research, but a great deal of the research carried out by psychology students is not directly overseen by the BPS, and so there is potential for ethical guidelines to be breached. The consequence is that this puts participants at risk of potential damage associated with ethical issues such as deception and lack of informed consent. Ethical guidelines must also be revised constantly to reflect social change and emerging ethical issues (e.g. internet-based research). ...read more.

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