Ethics and the Rights of Participants

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The goal for this section is to outline the principles of ethical psychological research and explain how the rights of participants (human and animal) are protected.

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Web Resources

All psychologists must agree to abide by a system of ethical principles when they conduct research, see clients, or in any other way interact with people or with animals. One system of ethical guidelines that is often used around the world is that developed by the American Psychological Association, "Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct".

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  1. Go to their long document on ethical principles and ethical conduct. Spend about 15 minutes skimming this document and reading sections that catch your interest.
  2. On the first page of that APA site click on the link to the five “General Principles”. Read this short section (about a page long) carefully.
  3. Of the five General Principles that APA advocates, which do you think is most important? Why? Post your choice online and write a short argument to convince your classmates that this principle is the most important part of ethics for psychologists. Read 5 posts from classmates to see which principle they picked and why.
  4. Discuss the last question in the case study example: If you were on the Ethics Review Board, would you approve this study as it was originally presented? Choose one of the five “General Principles" from the APA site. Explain one way to change the research plan so this study better meets that APA principle.