A Rush to Judgment?
A Case of Research Ethics and Design
Program in Social Sciences
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College
Department of Psychology
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
This case describes a study conducted by students in which a number of ethical issues arise, including the treatment of research participants and the supervision of student research assistants by faculty. By examining the way in which the study was conducted, students explore the basic principles of good experimental design. The case was developed for a sophomore-level research methods course as an introduction to research ethics and design. It could also be used in an introductory psychology course or other introductory-level science courses to illustrate the research process in science.
- Understand the fundamental ethical principles that apply to research with human participants: informed consent, freedom from harm, freedom from coercion, anonymity, and confidentiality.
- Understand the obligations of faculty and student researchers with respect to the participants, the research, and each other.
- Be able to identify threats to internal validity in a research project.
- Be able to design an ethically as well as methodologically sound research project.
KeywordsEthics in research; experimental design; independent variable; dependent variable; informed consent; freedom from harm; freedom from coercion; anonymity; confidentiality
Topical AreasEthics, Scientific method
Educational LevelHigh school, Undergraduate lower division
Type / MethodsDilemma/Decision, Discussion
Subject HeadingsPsychology | Science (General) |
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