Learning objectives: 
To be able to recognise ethical issues 
To be able to plan around ethical issues. 
Ethical Issues an...
What do you think the ethics that 
need to be considered are?
Ethical issue Definition 
Consent The participant must give permission to take part knowing the true 
Ethics 
aims of the ...
It is not always possible to stick to the ethical guidelines as 
this may jeopardise the results of your research. 
Theref...
Scenario 1 
James is investigating the way in which members of the public react when a 
black person falls over compared t...
Presumptive consent- Gain informed consent from people 
not taking part in the study and assume that if these people 
woul...
Lucy wishes to investigate the role of group identities by 
telling participants they are playing a game. Participants are...
Before she can deceive her participants she needs 
permission from the ethics committee who will weigh up 
the cost to the...
• Privacy- sometimes you need to observe behaviour without people knowing 
they are being observed. Only do this is a publ...
• Children are considered to be participants under the age 
of 16. They cannot give consent themselves so you would 
need ...
• Look at the scenarios you have been given. 
• Identify any ethical guidelines that been broken and 
decide on ways in wh...
A case study was carried out on Peter whose brain was damaged in a motorcycle 
accident. Psychologists tested how many num...
- There are no specific guidelines relating to brain damaged 
participants so you could mention any of the following. 
- I...
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  1. 1. Learning objectives: To be able to recognise ethical issues To be able to plan around ethical issues. Ethical Issues and How to deal with them
  2. 2. What do you think the ethics that need to be considered are?
  3. 3. Ethical issue Definition Consent The participant must give permission to take part knowing the true Ethics aims of the study and must know what they are expected to do. This is not always convenient and there are ways around this. Right to Withdraw Participants must have the option to leave the study and withdraw all of their data at any time. Protection from harm Participants must not experience any more harm than they would in every day life. Eg- severe embarrassment would be considered psychological harm as would distress, Confidentiality All information collected must be published in a way that does not identify the participant. From the researchers point of view this is difficult but they can promise anonymity. From the participants point it is a legal requirement. Deception This is when participants have been told a false purpose for the research. This is sometimes needed to prevent participants acting in a unnatural way. Privacy Some research makes it hard to not invade participants privacy. Eg observing someone in a shop. Participants may not mind being observed in public places but it would be unacceptable to observe in their private home.
  4. 4. It is not always possible to stick to the ethical guidelines as this may jeopardise the results of your research. Therefore you can break guidelines provided you can justify your reasons and you must find a way around the issue. The cost to the participant must be less than the benefit to the research.
  5. 5. Scenario 1 James is investigating the way in which members of the public react when a black person falls over compared to a white person. Scenario 2 Lucy wishes to investigate the role of group identities by telling participants they are playing a game. Participants are separated into 2 groups but it is not the group that wins, it is an individual. Throughout the game people have the opportunity to eliminate someone from either group and to save people from either group. She wanted to see if people were more likely to save people in their own group even though it doesn’t effect their chances of winning. Why might Informed consent be difficult to gain in the above scenarios?
  6. 6. Presumptive consent- Gain informed consent from people not taking part in the study and assume that if these people would consent then your participants would as well. The right to Withdraw- always give participants the right to withdraw at any point during the research, Limitation- people may consent to things in advance but when it came to doing the research they may not wish to continue. How can they overcome the issue of not gaining informed consent?
  7. 7. Lucy wishes to investigate the role of group identities by telling participants they are playing a game. Participants are separated into 2 groups but it is not the group that wins, it is an individual. Throughout the game people have the opportunity to eliminate someone from either group and to same people from either group. She wanted to see if people were more likely to save people in their own group even though it doesn’t effect their chances of winning. She also broke the deception rule… what can she do now?
  8. 8. Before she can deceive her participants she needs permission from the ethics committee who will weigh up the cost to the participants and the benefit to psychological research. This will not always work as the costs and benefits are not always obvious before the research is conducted. She will need to Debrief her participants. This means that once the research has been completed she needs to reveal the true purpose of the research and give her participants opportunity to withdraw their data if they wish. Ways around deception.
  9. 9. • Privacy- sometimes you need to observe behaviour without people knowing they are being observed. Only do this is a public place. • Right to Withdraw- Some participants may be given rewards/money for participating in research and therefore feel that they cant withdraw from the study. Participants must always be allowed to withdraw- even if they have been paid. • Protection from harm- if participants are experiencing more harm or getting more distressed than they would in every day life then you must end the study immediately. It is not always possible to predict how harmful a piece of research will be so be ready to end it early if needed. • Confidentiality- you must always make participants unidentifiable. This means either giving them false names or a number. It is not always possible as certain information like the location of a school and other information published may help to identify the participants. In practice confidentiality may not always be possible. Other issues explained…
  10. 10. • Children are considered to be participants under the age of 16. They cannot give consent themselves so you would need to gain consent from their parent/guardian. • Similar is true for vulnerable participants. They need their carer or someone that is in a position of trust to consent to the research taking place. • This is a safe-guarding procedure. Investigating children or vulnerable people
  11. 11. • Look at the scenarios you have been given. • Identify any ethical guidelines that been broken and decide on ways in which they can be dealt with. Task
  12. 12. A case study was carried out on Peter whose brain was damaged in a motorcycle accident. Psychologists tested how many numbers he could hold in his short-term memory. They did this by reading him lists of numbers and asking him to recall the numbers immediately in the right order. He could recall a maximum of two items. The psychologists found that his long-term memory was normal. 2 (c) Identify one ethical issue associated with this case study of Peter. Suggest how psychologists could deal with this ethical issue. Exam Question (4 marks) Ethical issue ................................................................................................................... How psychologists could deal with this ethical issue
  13. 13. - There are no specific guidelines relating to brain damaged participants so you could mention any of the following. - Informed consent, confidentiality, right to withdraw. - Stating 1 simple way of overcoming this issue would give 1 mark and then a further 2 marks for elaborating it. - An ethical issue to consider is informed consent. This is because he is brain damaged and may not be able to give consent himself. To overcome this issue the researchers could explain the purpose of the research to his carers and gain consent from them. Alternatively they could give him the right to withdraw at any time during the investigation, withdrawing his data as well or they could get presumptive consent from other people who do not have a connection with peter or the research. Answers

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