Ethics and Research

scientist vs. society
subject vs. scientist and value
responsible reporting


No right answers: there are always compromises, because there is some right on both sides. Three types of problems: 1) rights of scientist vs. rights of society 2) rights of subject vs. right of scientist and value of resaerch 3) responsible reporting: -- writer vs. reader -- problem of plagiarism

Rights of scientist vs. rights of society

Scientist: I have a right to know, quest for knowledge, pursuit of happiness

Society: Will this cause harm or good? How do we measure good? Historical note: the scientist wins eventually

Example: Galileo vs the Roman Catholic Church Sides: Galileo was observing the heavens and natural bodies and noting that Aristotle and Church doctrine were wrong. The Church saw a threat to the souls of the people and to their power (if this is wrong what else is). Galileo lost but won.

Example: Fertility scientists and test tube babies vs. Right to Life people (70s) Sides: Test tube wanted to give people reproductive opportunities. Right to lifers saw them killing fertilized eggs. Do you even recall that this was an issue?

Example: Research using fetal brain tissue

Resolution: Funds, How Allocated,Jobs, Social Pressure, Laws, Time

Rights of subject vs. right of scientist and value of resaerch

These are the biggies for you to worry about. Historical note, subject rights are becoming increasingly recognized.

Subject: right to privacy, to safety (physical and mental), control (what is harmful?)

Scientist and Value: right to know, value of the research (in terms of to the participant and for theoretical issues), benefit of research (who will this help and how much will it help). The Value is the primary focus of the Federal Guidelines for the review of research.

Find a different way to do research
Voluntary participation and informed consent
Researcher takes responsibility debriefing counseling
Special Problems:
Demand Characteristics
Using Placebos



Examples: Milgram and authority research, Baby Albert, Placebos in Counseling, Memory Experiments and deception

Consent Form:
Required for your research project.
Names the project at the top of the page.
Outlines for the subject what will happen
    enough detail to make consent possible
    do not give away every thing about the experiment
    no active deception (for this class)
Describes any possible risks
Describes benefits
    for participant (if any)
    for theory
    for application
Gives your name and this class (thus my name too)
Subject signs and dates

Required for your research project
Describes theory behind the project
Describes what you did -- IVs and levels, DVs
Gives Hypotheses
Gives a means to contact you for the results

Responsible reporting: writer or reader

Who is responsible for insuring that research is not taken out of context? That it is not over-evaluated? The issue is being sensationalist.

Writer side: Stephen Ceci: does work on children¹s memory especially errors and biases. He is often asked to testify in court cases on child abuse. Refuses to do so because he only knows the generalities and knows that there is wide variability. Is very careful in drawing conclusion so that others won¹t misrepresent his work. Passes up on lots of money.

Reader Side: Simon LeVay: Investigating the link between homosexuality and brain structuress. Looked at the brains of 19 homosexual males who died of AIDS and 16 presumed heterosexual men and women only six of whom died of AIDS. Found a difference in the INAH-3 in hypothalamus that is involved in regulating sexual behavior. Homosexual males had same size as women which was half of the male. LeVay went very public based on very limited work because he is trying to support gay causes.

problem of plagiarism

This is occasionally a problem in college classes and so I will mention it.

Plagiarism is usually defined as presenting as your own work something that is not your work. -- turning in a project that is not your work -- working together on assignments that are intended as individual projects, and then claiming full credit -- presenting the work of other authors as if it were either your ideas or your writing; this can sometimes be due to poor use of citations -- cite authors when giving their ideas -- don't wait to cite until the end of the paragraph -- changing just one or two words in a sentence is not ok -- don't cite work you haven't read (unless you cite who's reading of the work you are using)

Generally, Do Not Quote

Make your citations clear

Follow APA style

Click here for some examples and correct citations and plagiarism