Participants' Rights:Confidentiality refers to the principle that all personal information and responses of the participants in an experiment must not be revealed without their permission. Questionnaires or any data collecting devices should not display any of the participants' personal details and, should the researcher need to retest in the course of a longitudinal study, information identifying the participants must be kept separate from their responses.
In any psychological study, participants must be involved on a voluntary basis, i.e. they are given the freedom to decline participation. Participants must not be coerced, given inducements or threatened in any way. If they are given a payment, it should only be to cover any costs incurred in being involved in the study rather than serving as a money making exercise. Participants should be told that they are free to withdraw at any stage of the study so their welfare is not compromised in any way.
Informed Consent Procedures:Before any investigation begins, potential subjects need to decide whether to participate in an experiment after being informed of the nature and purpose of the research. As already stated, their participation must be totally voluntary and whenever possible, their consent should be obtained in writing.
Debriefing:This is where the researcher, in a post-experimental session, explains the true nature of the research to the participants. The participants are then given the opportunity to ask any questions about the research and to comment freely on any part of the experiment.
This procedure ensures that the participants experience no lasting harm while still ensuring that the purpose of the investigation is not compromised.
Professional Conduct:The researcher of any study should adhere to the ethical principles outlined above and should maintain a rigorous standard in each stage of the research. He/she should respect the rights of the participants and use the data collected to draw appropriate and valid conclusions in order to further the knowledge base in the given area.
The objectives of the research should be clear and justify the treatment of the subjects, whether they be human or animal.