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Ethical Issues in Behavioral Research Essay

The field of psychological research calls for significant standards to check on the data collection and analysis by scientists. The development of the standards is as a result of increased violations of both federal and institutional laws and regulations in the human being participant researches. The violation of privileges and authorities has led to violation of ethics (Kimmel, 2009). Respect, justice, fidelity, and integrity are the main principles that guide psychological research.

In his works, Kitchener (2000) defines respect as a condition in which an individual or a group behaves and through actions while in the presence of another individual or something in a manner that disclosed good attitudes.

Kimmel (2009) defines integrity as the quality of an individual character; a conception that correlates to the constancy of deeds, methodologies, values, measures and results. The principle of integrity refers to an individual’s straightforwardness, thoughtfulness and trueness of his deeds. On the other hand, fidelity refers to the individual level of loyalty while in psychological research; it refers to the extent to which a simulation replicates the conditions, and attitudes of the real world. Justice is the state of being fair, morally upright and equitable.

The APA code of ethics for research and publications talks about various sub standards that exists in the field of research. The three main sub standards that play significant roles in research comprise; Human Care and Animal Use in Research, Reporting of Research Outcomes and Deception (Stricker & Widiger, 2003).

When using animals and human beings in their studies, psychologists should observe and comply with the state, local and federal rules and regulations that calls on them to obtain, care for, utilize and properly discard the animals. In order to avoid abuse of animals in scientific studies, the code of ethics has recommended setting up of laboratory animal care plans to guide both learners and tutors in the best animal care practices.

Amongst these practices is the Committee on Institutional animal Care and Use. The role of the committee is to oversee the whole animal care and use plan. In order to stop animal abuses, the staffs need to undergo thorough training and qualification program to train the learners and personnel on how to look after the animal and discard them after using them to obtain the necessary data (Stricker & Widiger, 2003).

Another sub standard mentioned in the ethics code is the Reporting Research Results. The sub standard demands that psychologists report minus altering, the exact data the found, even if it contradicts their theory. In case of mistakes occurring during the study process, the psychologists are responsible and have to correct the mistakes using the best possible means. Researchers are to publish their findings or deliver them to their employers with the aim of supporting or contradicting a given theory.

Scientists who do not publish their results with the aim of suppressing it risks disqualification from the profession. In case a clinical researcher comes across negatives outcomes while collecting data he has to report the findings as soon as possible. The code of ethics also requires that the researcher proposes an empirical or meta-analytical approach or a combination of the two in case of a negative research. A scientist risks losing his integrity if he fails to report his findings accordingly (Kimmel, 2009).

Deception is another substandard adversely mentioned in the code of ethics. The code of ethics notes that psychologists should not carry out research that involves deception except when they establish that its use as an approach is valid to the research’s important potential, scientific and educational values and that the effectual non-deceptive options are not practical (Stricker & Widiger, 2003). The code also maintains that researchers should not lie to potential research participants on a study that is likely to cause physical harm and psychological stress.

The aptitude to decode deception in intellectual practice is crucial in the establishment of validity and importance of data brought back as the study outcomes. Lying to partakers who lack understanding of the background information of the study can be luring, however, one must avoid it as it contradicts the code on integrity, respect and fidelity towards the partakers. Controlling deception in research is difficult as psychologists lack guidance on the acceptability of certain cases and how it applies in psychological studies (Kimmel, 2009).

As a result, many psychologists turn to moral philosophy and social contract theory in recognition of instances that allow deception. To stop deception, assessors and editors should amend the conception of what a good research entails. This requires researchers to carry out ethical and valid researches (Stricker & Widiger, 2003).

A study to determine the impact of metformin on reducing blood sugar levels in rats and its effectiveness in animals should reveal the sub standards of APA code of ethics as it entails dealing with live animals and pharmacological medicine. The use of rats in the study demands that one should be trained on proper animal inventory, injection, feeding, and how to document the sugar level data. One should report the results to his employer (Kimmel, 2009).


Kimmel, A. J. (2009). Ethical Issues in Behavioral Research: Basic and Applied Perspectives. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.

Kitchener, K. S. (2000). Foundations of Ethical Practic. London: Routledge,.

Stricker, G., & Widiger, T. A. (2003). Handbook of Psychology, Clinical Psychology. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.

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