When people think of ethics, they develop a perception for distinguishing between the right and wrong. In most cases, ethical values are taken as standards of conduct differentiating between unacceptable and acceptable behaviors. Different disciplines, professions, and institutions develop their standards of behavior to suit their particular goals and resolve the moral dilemma. For instance, psychological research is prone to various controversial experimental techniques and designs due to the nature and varying views of recruited study participants. For that reason, American Psychological Association (APA) has come up with relevant ethical standards applicable to human research (Benov, 2013). Once you selected a study design involving other participants you are then obliged to act by APA enforceable rule of conduct. The ethical standards are meant to ensure the safety and continued well-being of the participants (Benov, 2013). However, though all APAs ethical standards are significant especially about human research participation, respect for freedom and dignity of participants is of great value.
Psychologists should appreciate the dignity of participants by adhering to their rights to privacy, personal liberty, self-determination and natural justices. In a research context, it means that a psychologist should outline the duties of participants and promote these rights in all research activities (Goodwin, 2010). Therefore, the psychologist must respect cultural and role difference of involved individuals, which include those involving gender, education, age, ethnicity and social-economic status. By giving participants this level of respect, a psychologist will naturally provide details of the nature of their research and avoid biased or discriminatory practices.
Also, based on respect for individual freedom, research should not impair the choice of participants. Researchers have to respect privacy and protect loss of confidence between involved parties. Collected data should remain anonymous such that other parties cannot track it back to participants. Respect for freedom and dignity of participants is, therefore, the most important ethical standard that applies to human research participation among those provided in the APAs guide. It ensures that the society under reflection gives accurate and reliable data making the entire study relevant. In instances where investigators overlook the freedom and dignity of individuals under observation, they are likely to consolidate manipulated report lending the other ethical standards impractical.
Benov, E. (2013). APAs Five General Principles of Ethics: How Do They Matter to an Aspiring Scientist. JEPS Bulletin. Retrieved 16 August 2017, from http://blog.efpsa.org/2013/08/15/apas-five-general-principles-of-ethics/Top of Form
Goodwin, C. J. (2010). Research in psychology: Methods and design. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Part 2: Response
The post starts by recognizing the expansive utilization of American Psychological Association guidelines for psychological studies. It elaborates on informed consent as the most important ethical standard, especially among children. By giving informed consent, an investigator aims at convincing participants to take part in the study. Therefore, before the study begins, a psychologist or any researcher ought to explain what the research is all about and what participants are required to give in the process. Also, there is need to outline all the features of the investigation, which might influence the willingness of participants to take part in the study. Informed consent demands that researchers should respect the freedom of participants to choose if they would give an assent or disregard the participation. Also, it indicates that one should feel comfortable to discontinue participation at any time without any legal repercussion for withdrawing.
However, children under the age of eighteen lack the competence to participate in some of these psychological researchers. It means that only the parents or guardians can provide consent to allow minors to take part in the study (Fisher, & Vacanti-Shova, 2012). In such a case, an informed consent would be conveyed using a language conversant to both the parent and the child. It must clarify the importance and risks associated with the study. Nevertheless, the post maintains the fact that the investigation needs to operate under certain provisions to ensure the life and health of the children are not endangered. In conclusion, retaining freedom and dignity of participants persists as an issue of concern when it comes to maintaining informed consent, which makes it the most important ethical standard.
Fisher, C. B., & Vacanti-Shova, K. (2012). The responsible conduct of psychological research: An overview of ethical principles, APA Ethics Code standards, and federal regulations.
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