C University’s HRPP is committed to upholding the ethical principles described in the Nuremberg Code, the Declaration of Helsinki, and The Belmont Report. These principles, translated and embedded in federal and state regulations that mandate informed consent and the establishment of Independent Review Boards (IRBs), guide C’s review of research with human participants and provide the ethical foundations and spirit of C’s HRPP.
The consideration of the Belmont Report include the following principles, which are fundamental to the protection of human participants in research:
Respect for Persons
This principle acknowledges the participant’s autonomy and the researcher’s obligation to respect that autonomy. It also protects participants with diminished autonomy (e.g., children) from possible exploitation.
From this principle of respect for persons comes the informed consent process in which researchers must provide potential participants with information about the study in a manner they can understand and then allow them to choose whether or not they wish to participate.
This principle obligates the researcher to protect participants from harm as well as to maximize the anticipated benefits of the research and minimize possible risks resulting from the research.
To apply the principle of beneficence, researchers and IRB reviewers analyze the risks and benefits to the participants to ensure that the anticipated risks are commensurate with the potential benefits. In every study researchers should minimize the risks as much as possible.
This principle requires the equitable distribution of both the benefits and the burdens of research.
Implementing the principle of justice requires researchers to avoid selecting participants solely because they are accessible or easy to influence. In addition, it charges researchers not to exclude participants who are likely to benefit from a study.)
To what degree do the APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct address the ethical concerns you identified? (http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/index.aspx)
How would attempt to resolve the issue? What steps would you take?
As an educational psychologist, you are employed in higher education to teach undergraduate students enrolled in a teacher education program. You have an ongoing research program that involves studies on the perceptions and training of undergraduates enrolled in teacher education programs. As a course instructor, you offer extra credit for students to participate in your ongoing research. Typically, this involves completing various surveys and paper-and-pencil instruments of perception and beliefs related to becoming a teacher. A colleague suggests to you that students in your courses are really not free to choose to participate because they may fear that their final course grade will be influenced by their choice to participate. You have assured your students that their participation will not affect their final course grade.
What are the ethical issues involved?