Assignment: Ethics: Do No Harm

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Researchers in psychology (including students) must follow the American Psychological Association’s (APA’s) Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (2010) to protect the rights and welfare of research participants and ensure no harm will come to them. Furthermore, an Institutional Review Board (IRB) committee must review and approve all research studies involving humans and/or animals before they begin. It is the IRB committee’s responsibility to evaluate proposed research studies per the APA’s ethical principles and codes of conduct as well as to assess the possible benefits and risks of the studies.

An effective way to develop your research skills is to analyze sample studies. For this Assignment, you will review brief research descriptions, identify and address ethical issues, and apply an alternative research methodology.

To prepare:

  • Review again Chapter 1 from the course text.
  • Read Chapter 3 from the course text.
  • Read the American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct: Including 2010 Amendments.

The Assignment (1–2 pages):

Select one of the following four research studies:

  1. A researcher was studying initial interactions between people. While two students were supposedly waiting for an experiment to begin, the researcher covertly videotaped their actions and conversation. Afterward, the researcher told the students about the video recording and gave them the opportunity to have the tape erased.
  2. A researcher worked for a time on the production line of a large manufacturing plant. His status as a researcher was unknown to his coworkers. It was not until he was about to leave that he revealed his purpose and identity to his coworkers.
  3. To study what types of people are most likely to give money to a stranger, people on city streets were asked for money by an individual who said he had just lost his wallet. No one was ever told that he or she was part of a research project.
  4. To study the effects of alcohol on decision making, a graduate student interviewed college students after they had left a campus bar. With a portable breathalyzer, he registered their blood alcohol levels. Although some of them were found to be intoxicated beyond the legal state limits, and many of them were going to be driving home, he did not inform them of their blood alcohol levels.

Complete the following for the study you selected (rather than reproduce the scenario in your response, indicate your study selection with a number):

  1. Explain the ethical issues and how the study may have violated principles of ethical behavior.
  2. Propose an alternative research design from the assigned Learning Resources that could possibly remedy the identified issues, (e.g., naturalistic observation, simulation study), and explain in detail how the new design would be set up and carried out.
Reminder: Do not copy or retype the example study scenario into your Assignment.
Note: Support the responses within your Assignment with evidence from the assigned Learning Resources. Provide a reference list for resources you used for this Assignment.
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