Read the APA Ethics Code – Standard 8
Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in the Care and Use of Animals
Changes in Standard 8
This section includes the addition that psychologists may in some research settings dispense with informed consent (e.g., anonymous questionnaires, naturalistic observation, or where consent is not required by law for example). It also protects psychologists who release data for others so they can verify findings from having their data used for other purposes.
Purpose of Standard 8
Since we are “scientist practitioners” it is only sensible that our code cover what we do as we conduct research to advance our science. Making sure our work is approved by peers, making sure our participants know what they will be doing and the risks involved, and avoiding the misuse of our power are very important issues. Further, reporting our findings with honesty and integrity is also a basic requirement of science.
For example, when I teach assessment classes, I require students to practice the tests we learn with real volunteers. This is not research in the strictest sense, but neither is it a real clinical service. To assure the assignment is conducted in an ethical manner, I require students to:
- provide volunteers full information about the purpose of the assignment, and that they will submit the person’s test results and a written report about them for educational and training purposes
- explain to volunteers the procedures used to protect confidentiality and the limits of confidentiality under special circumstances (suicidal or homicidal threat, child or elder abuse, inability to protect oneself from significant harm)
- explain to volunteers that they are not yet qualified to give these tests or interpret the test results independently, and so the student can not provide any feedback whatsoever to the volunteers
- avoid testing someone they know or have cause to know. That means a friend, a roommate, a romantic partner, a business partner, or a family member… as well as a friend, a roommate, a romantic partner, a business partner, or a family member of one of these people to avoid causing distress to the volunteer if they realize they have revealed things that they would not want a friend, roommate, romantic partner… to know about them