Ethical issues are essential factors that must be given due and proper consideration in research. This becomes even more applicable when researchers deal with studies that involve human beings and animals. Numerous experiments are being made to achieve progress in various fields of discipline, including psychology. In doing so, human beings and animals must be protected, especially since using them in these experiments involves their well-being. For this reason, ethical standards are established.
Ethical standards serve as the guidelines that govern the proper and improper participation and utilization of these life forms in research (University of Alberta, 2008).
These standards ensure that studies which involve human beings and animals are subjected to limitations so that they would not be taken advantage of. According to the British Psychological Society (BPS) (2008), ethical guidelines give importance to respecting an individual as the researchers should not express any sign of prejudice toward the participants due to differences in racial descent, sexuality, language, and such.
The privacy of the participants should also be respected.
Thus, researchers must only acquire the personal information necessary for the study, and this information must be kept confidential. The researchers should also obtain the consent of the individuals who will participate in the study. During the study itself, participants should also be protected from any kind of harm, may it be psychological (e. g. , stress and anxiety) or physical.
Moreover, the researchers also have to respect the participant’s right to leave an experiment any time that he or she wishes to. In another perspective, ethics tend to limit the advancement of psychological science. Since there are many guidelines and rules that have to be followed, researchers do not have full control over their participants. This sometimes hinders and impedes the experimentation process. Furthermore, obtaining the necessary license for this kind of research could be time-consuming, which can be used for the study itself (BPS, 2008).
Scientists should accept and follow the limitations brought about by ethical guidelines because these guidelines only give due importance to the life of the participants. The main justification for these research studies is that the findings obtained from these would contribute to the knowledge and information on various fields of discipline and help improve the lives of individuals. This gives such studies an objective that is morally good (National Academy of Sciences, 2006). Hence, scientists should value the lives of the people they claim to help.
Lastly, the one responsible in identifying the parameters of the participants’ protection are competent organizations that are familiar with the field of study being researched. In the case of the United States, the American Psychological Association (APA) (2008) is an organization that represents the psychologists in the U. S. APA (2008) implements an ethics code that every member of the organization must adhere to.
American Psychological Association. (2008). APA Ethics Office. Retrieved September 15, 2008, from http://www. apa. org/ethics/.British Psychological Society. (2008). Ethics. Scienceaid. co. uk. Retrieved September 15, 2008, from http://scienceaid. co. uk/psychology/approaches/ethics. html. National Academy of Sciences. (2006). Scientific and ethical justification for using animals in research. Online Ethics Center for Engineering. Retrieved September 15, 2008, from http://www. onlineethics. org/cms/16216. aspx. University of Alberta. (2008). Human Ethics, Biohazards, and Animal Welfare. Retrieved September 15, 2008, from http://www. rso. ualberta. ca/certification. cfm.