Adhering to Research Ethics in Psychology

By Martin Dempster, Donncha Hanna

Part of Research Methods in Psychology For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Like many other fields, psychology is dependent on research as a discipline. It is important to maintain ethical principles during research. Five key ethical principles underpin psychological research:

  • Beneficence and non-maleficence (always try to help and never do harm)

  • Fidelity and responsibility (aim to establish trust, behave with professional responsibility and contribute to the discipline)

  • Integrity (behave in an accurate, honest and truthful manner)

  • Justice (promote fairness and equality)

  • Respect for people’s right and dignity

These principles align with the five key components of the research process:

  • Ensure that people provide valid consent to participate in the research.

  • Ensure that participants know about their rights to withdraw from the research.

  • Ensure confidentiality of data.

  • Ensure that research participants are not deceived (unless there is a strong justification).

  • Ensure that participants are fully debriefed at the end of the study.