When it comes to researching on human subjects, researchers have obligations to their subjects to inform them on certain criteria of the type of research that they will be participating. If the following are not thought through, then the research itself could be considered invalid and not be likely to be published. Researchers should initially design their experiments to avoid any biased or unconscious bias. Some priorities that are to be reviewed are those of respect for the dignity of persons, responsible caring, integrity in relationships, and responsibility to society.
There are four categories of principles when it comes to conducting research on human subjects. Respect for Persons is the most important one ethically. This states that individuals that agree to participate in a study should have the right to freely make up their minds about their role in each study (Morling, B., pg. 95). In order to obtain this right, the researcher is obligated to give informed consent to each participant. Meaning, that each participant is to be informed about all the risks and benefits of what they’re about to experience (Morling, B., pg. 96). Researchers should use professional language that is understandable to participants except when conducting activities without consent mandated by law or governmental regulation. This is to be given in a matter of appropriate written document and oral consent. Psychologist should respect right to privacy as a matter to balance against the well-being of society all together. Each participant has the freedom to refuse or withdrawal during any time during the study. Concern for privacy continues after data has been collected. Participants have the right to expect that any data collected will never be made public in a way that would break confidentiality, unless they orally or have written documentation to the publication. Data should be worded to protect privacy involving sensitive and/or personal material. Researchers must word sensitive data, respect people’s right not to reveal personal information about themselves, and keep in mind that there is valuable information that subjects may be hesitant to reveal about themselves, depending on the type of information that is asked or given.
Principle of Beneficence helps participants from harm and to make sure their well-being (Morling, B., pg. 96). Researchers must not put participants in a situation where they might be at risk of harm as a result of their participation, defined as both physical and psychological. If harm can be done to participants, the results of the study must have a considerable potential to have improvement within a general population. There are many useful things that could be collected and give a justification from participants subjected to minimal pain or discomfort, but many ethical issues become relevant when asking participants to pay higher costs.
Principle of Justice calls for a fair balance between the kinds of people who participate in research and the kinds of people who benefit from it (Morling, B., pg. 97). This meaning that even though the participants in the study may be at harm or risk, the population that is not part of the study may benefit from the results. An example of this would be that of medical trials for cancer. A lot has been studied of the effects of marijuana and if it helps cancer patients or not. During studies like this some participants may react negatively but could be setting up results that could benefit others.
Principles in Practice researchers must collect, record accordingly, and store the data from their experiments to conclude data integrity. Their research should be reproducible, and others should be able to look at the data from an experiment and come to the same conclusions. This is important in case a study needs to be replicated or if replication-plus-extension comes into place that could further help the studies case. Researchers must not make up, forge, and/or delete data for any reason, even to make their results look better for biased reasons. Data integrity is part of the ethical principle of scientific validity, without research results can be considered invalid.
Researchers take a lot on when conducting research. There are many protocols that need to be taken into consideration before presenting a new study. If the following principles are not taken into consideration, then there would be no research articles to date. It is very important to be ethically aware when it comes to human subjects due to there could be effects on the participants that could cause further personal issues. When psychologists follow their proper roles and responsibilities, research is more likely to be appreciated and benefit the population(s) of interest.