With regard to research ethics when interviewing children, the most common issues raised in the introduction of interviews concern data confidentiality, the purpose of the study and of interviews, as well as the use of audio or video recording of the interviews. Less often, there are references to the voluntary character of the interviews, the right of children not to answer questions if they do not want to and the signing of consent forms. In any case, not all studies treat issues of research ethics in the same way and not all emphasize the same aspects of research ethics.
Using the general guideline from this week’s introduction, chose two key points from the ethical conduct list, then chose the topic you would like to apply those points to and create a mock podcast or a mock podcast transcript. Your audience for the podcast is final year psychology students who will undertake a case study with children under the age of 18.
Guidelines for ethical conduct
Principle A: Beneficence and Nonmaleficence
Psychologists strive to benefit those with whom they work and take care to do no harm. In their professional actions, psychologists seek to safeguard the welfare and rights of those with whom they interact professionally and other affected persons, and the welfare of animal subjects of research. When conflicts occur among psychologists’ obligations or concerns, they attempt to resolve these conflicts in a responsible fashion that avoids or minimizes harm. Because psychologists’ scientific and professional judgments and actions may affect the lives of others, they are alert to and guard against personal, financial, social, organizational, or political factors that might lead to misuse of their influence. Psychologists strive to be aware of the possible effect of their own physical and mental health on their ability to help those with whom they work.
Principle B: Fidelity and Responsibility
Psychologists establish relationships of trust with those with whom they work. They are aware of their professional and scientific responsibilities to society and to the specific communities in which they work. Psychologists uphold professional standards of conduct, clarify their professional roles and obligations, accept appropriate responsibility for their behavior, and seek to manage conflicts of interest that could lead to exploitation or harm. Psychologists consult with, refer to, or cooperate with other professionals and institutions to the extent needed to serve the best interests of those with whom they work. They are concerned about the ethical compliance of their colleagues’ scientific and professional conduct. Psychologists strive to contribute a portion of their professional time for little or no compensation or personal advantage.
Principle C: Integrity
Psychologists seek to promote accuracy, honesty, and truthfulness in the science, teaching, and practice of psychology. In these activities psychologists do not steal, cheat or engage in fraud, subterfuge, or intentional misrepresentation of fact. Psychologists strive to keep their promises and to avoid unwise or unclear commitments. In situations in which deception may be ethically justifiable to maximize benefits and minimize harm, psychologists have a serious obligation to consider the need for, the possible consequences of, and their responsibility to correct any resulting mistrust or other harmful effects that arise from the use of such techniques.
Principle D: Justice
Psychologists recognize that fairness and justice entitle all persons to access to and benefit from the contributions of psychology and to equal quality in the processes, procedures, and services being conducted by psychologists. Psychologists exercise reasonable judgment and take precautions to ensure that their potential biases, the boundaries of their competence, and the limitations of their expertise do not lead to or condone unjust practices.
Principle E: Respect for People’s Rights and Dignity
Psychologists respect the dignity and worth of all people, and the rights of individuals to privacy, confidentiality, and self-determination. Psychologists are aware that special safeguards may be necessary to protect the rights and welfare of persons or communities whose vulnerabilities impair autonomous decision making. Psychologists are aware of and respect cultural, individual, and role differences, including those based on age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language, and socioeconomic status, and consider these factors when working with members of such groups. Psychologists try to eliminate the effect on their work of biases based on those factors, and they do not knowingly participate in or condone activities of others based upon such prejudices.
Some points you may wish to consider in your podcast may be:
How do you discuss non-conformity with children and adolescents?
What are the ethical issues using under age participants in research when approaching gender development issues?
When is parental concern necessary (consider country and the family religious or ethnic background even if it is not in the guidelines) in order to involve children in research?
Your podcast should include the following elements (at a minimum):
The topic you would be discussing
Introduction (for example, parental attitudes to proposed transgender bathrooms in elementary schools or cultural attitudes to girls boxing team)
Case example to illustrate the issues and its ethical challenges
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