Introduction to Research Design and Statistics
Ethical Issues in Research
Some Ethical Issues for Discussion
- The right to informed consent
- The right to remain anonymous
- The right to privacy
- The right to confidentiality
- The right to expect experimenter responsibility
APA Ethical Principles
- The primary investigator of a study is responsible for the ethical standards adhered to.
- The investigator should inform subjects of all aspects of the research that
might influence willingness to participate, and answer all inquiries of subjects
on features that may have adverse effects or consequences.
- The investigator should be as open and honest with the subjects as possible. If
deception is required, the subjects should be debriefed as soon as possible concerning
the nature of the study and the reason for deception (except when the nature of the study
may be harmful).
- All subjects should have the option to refuse to participate, with no adverse consequences if
refusal is chosen.
- Subjects must be protected from physical and mental discomfort, harm and danger. If any of
these risks is possible, the researcher must inform the subjects of these risks.
- Most studies require the investigator to secure informed consent from the subjects before
they participate in the research. Informed consent is achieved by providing subjects with an
explanation of the research, an opportunity to terminate their participation at any time
with no penalty, and full disclosure of any risks associated with the study.Consent is usually
obtained by asking subjects (or parents of minors) to sign a form that indicates understanding
of the research and consent to participate. Subjects should never be coerced into participating.
Some research, which clearly has no risks to the participants and is conducted unobtrusively
(in which individuals are unaware that they are subjects, as in the use of test data of students
over the last ten years in order to chart achievement trends), needs no informed consent. Almost
all data-gathering in public schools that requires student participation beyond normal testing
requires parental as well as school district and school principal permission.
- Information obtained about subjects must be held confidential unless otherwise agreed upon,
in advance, through informed consent. Often, researchers will indicate that, in order
to protect anonymity of the subjects, only group data will be reported.
- For research conducted through an institution, such as a university, approval for conducting
the research should be sought from the institution before collecting any data.
- The investigator has a responsibility to consider to consider potential misinterpretations
and misuses of the research, and should make every effort to communicate results so that
misunderstanding is minimized.
- The investigator should provide subjects with the opportunity to receive results of the study they
are participating in.
UCLA Human Subjects Committee
- Some rules and exceptions
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Phil Ender, 30Jun98