Ethics in Psychological Research

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Whenever any psychological research is conducted, it is essential to uphold high standards of ethics. Most psychological schools and organizations have laid out codes of ethics to be followed in any psychological research; these must be followed for mutual understanding with the participants. Generally, in every research, consideration should be based on the participants’ perspective, ensuring that their physical and psychological health, dignity, safety and well-being are highly maintained. In ensuring these, it is vital to seek participant’s consent and information; this would include providing them with full details of the study so that they make informed decisions on participation as well as free withdrawal whenever they want. In most cases, research is not started unless ethical approval is given by the organizations or institutions concerned. This is mainly done to ensure that all implications of the survey on participants are carefully examined before consent is sought (Queen’s University Belfast, 2010, par. 1). This paper will consider ethical implications, and problems of psychological research on participants as well as things to consider before conducting the research.

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Codes of Ethics

In the United States, basic codes of ethics have been drawn, which must be followed whenever any psychological research is conducted. These codes concern confidence and mutual respect between researchers and participants, cultural differences, gender, race, consent, deception, debriefing, withdrawal, protection, publications, privacy and confidentiality, among others. They are essential elements for consideration before conducting any research and therefore any amount of harm caused to the participants without following these codes would cost heavily on the investigators. They are categorized in three groups, those affecting research on humans, those on animals and the others on practitioners of psychology such as, in monitoring other investigators to ensure that the codes are followed. In summary, these codes revolve around preserving reputation of both the participants and practitioners; in essence, it is aimed at maintaining reputation of psychology (Kerridwen Red, Inc., 2002, p. 1).

Case Study

Considering the case study on the dilemmas provided, several violations of these conducts have been exposed and it poses the question of whether it was essential to conduct the surveys. For instance, considering case study number three, in which efforts were made to investigate the consequences of own space when urinating, A clear description is given of how the investigators hid in toilet stalls with periscopes observing and timing men as they urinated, without consent and unaware. They never interacted or informed the participants of their investigations, extending their observations to rest rooms as well (Queen’s University Belfast, 2010, par. 1).


It is quite clear that the research had viable aims in establishing the influence caused by personal space on urination and the duration of its initiation when others do it nearby. However, problems arise in their decision to hide and observe other people’s privacy. This breaks the fundamental of codes of ethics to be followed. First, the participants were not informed, meaning there was no consent as well as information. Consequently, there was neither understanding nor knowledge that the survey was being conducted. The participants were not given an opportunity to choose freely on whether to participate or withdraw. It is clear that most of the codes of ethics were violated, participants’ privacy was infringed without knowledge or consent, their observations used for research and this was unacceptable. Presuming that any of the cameras was found, court proceedings followed by heavy costs and further implications on the reputation of psychology would greatly demise the credibility of the whole process, consequently negating its scientific benefits to society (Kerridwen Red, Inc., 2002, p. 1).


Considering the value of such a research to the society, it should have been conducted, but not in the manner it was done, consent should have been sought from willing participants to preserve their physical and psychological dignity, privacy and well-being. Every other psychological research should therefore follow these codes to preserve its reputation and avoid unnecessary costs in compensations of all affected participants.

Reference List

Kerridwen Red, Inc. (2002). Social Psychology-Ethical Issues in Psychological Research. Freespacevirgin. Web.

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Queen’s University Belfast. (2010). Ethical considerations in developing your research. Belfast, Northern Ireland. Web.

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PsychologyWriting. (2022, January 13). Ethics in Psychological Research. Retrieved from


PsychologyWriting. (2022, January 13). Ethics in Psychological Research.

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"Ethics in Psychological Research." PsychologyWriting, 13 Jan. 2022,


PsychologyWriting. (2022) 'Ethics in Psychological Research'. 13 January.


PsychologyWriting. 2022. "Ethics in Psychological Research." January 13, 2022.

1. PsychologyWriting. "Ethics in Psychological Research." January 13, 2022.


PsychologyWriting. "Ethics in Psychological Research." January 13, 2022.