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Ethical Research in Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology
« on: May 15, 2012, 01:31:09 PM »
Written by: A. Lorenzo Lucino Jr
Abstract:


The research field has been inundated with instances of ethical violations, which affects the research direction as well as the substance of the study. Some key sub-standards mentioned in Section 8 of the APA Code of Ethics include human care and use of animal research, reporting research results and deception in research. Animal care and proper training with animals should be enforced so as to make sure that research is morally sound when sacrificing animals for data. Researchers should divulge their research results even when it is countering their original points and not try to suppress results that can be considered ethically questionable. Deception of respondents and protocol should be evaded with emphasis in providing a consent form and debriefing the test subjects. The said three sub-standards were considered in the research involving metformin’s effects on reducing animal sugar levels.  







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Lorenzo

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Re: Ethical Research in Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2012, 01:31:50 PM »
In the field of psychological research, an important factor that should govern and dictate how a scientist gathers data and analyzes the results is the ethical standards in psychology. There has been an outstanding amount of violations on federal and institutional rules and regulations and the ethical issues in human participant researched has been source of contention for the past 5 decades. The abuse of privileges and power has resulted ethical violations. In the field of psychology, the core ethical principles that governs research is respect, integrity, fidelity and justice (Houser, 2009).


Respect is a state in which a person or group of persons behaves accordingly and through good conduct in front of someone or something in a manner that would show good attitude. Integrity refers to a quality of a person’s character; it is a concept that relates to consistency of actions, values, methods, measures and outcomes. The concept of integrity refers to a person’s honesty, thoughtfulness and trueness of one’s actions (Houser, 2009). Fidelity refers to one’s faithfulness or loyalty; and in the field of research it refers to the degree to which a simulation reproduces the state and behavior of real world conditions. Justice is the quality of being just, equitable and morally right (Houser, 2009).


Standard 8: Research and Publication of the APA Ethics Code discusses a plethora of sub-standards that should be addressed in research. Three sub-standards that have an essential role in research activity includes Human Care and Use of Animals in Research, Reporting Research Results and Deception in Research (APA, 2010) . When dealing with human care and use of animals, psychologists are dealing with animals in their study and thus acquire, care for, use, and dispose of animals’ vis-à-vis compliance with federal, state, and local laws and regulations (APA, 2010). To prevent the abuse of animals in scientific research, there are laboratory animal programs to guide students and faculty in the proper animal care, one of this is the Institutional Animal Care and Use and Committee, which is responsible for the oversight of the entire animal care use program (Parks, 2010, p. 70). To prevent ethical abuses on animals, personnel have to go through a rigorous qualification program and training process, which teaches students and personnel how to care for the animals and dispose of them after sacrificing them to retrieve data result (Parks, 2010, p. 71-72).


   Reporting Research Results is another substandard mentioned in the APA Ethics Code, which deals with psychologists reporting any data they find and not fabricating data , even if it is countering their hypothesis. If psychologists discover any significant errors in their study, then they are responsible for correcting these errors through correction, retraction, erratum or other appropriate publication means (APA, 2010). Researchers are supposed to report their research findings in their paper or to their employers either to support a hypothesis or even to counter a proposed hypothesis. Psychologists who do not report their findings and try to cover it up to try to suppress non-confirmatory data risk their professional standards. (Lowman, 2006). If a clinical researcher collects data and finds out that the data result are negative, one should report it immediately. Even if the results are negative, it is ethically desirable to propose a meta-analytic strategy or a combined meta-analytic and empirical strategy (Lowman, 2006). It is important to note that if one does not report the research results properly, one can lose credibility, integrity.


   Another substandard that should be taken into consideration is the issue of Deception in research. The APA Code of Ethics states that psychologists do not conduct a study involving deception unless they have determined that the use of deception techniques is justified by the study’s significant prospective scientific, educational or applied value and that effective non-deceptive alternative procedures are not feasible (APA, 2010). The APA Code of Ethics also stresses the fact that psychologists are not permitted in any way to deceive prospective participants about research that is reasonably expected to cause physical pain or severe emotional stress (APA, 2010).


   The ability to decipher deception in intelligence practice is critical in determining validity and usefulness of information brought back as feedback. Deceiving participants who have no knowledge in the background information can be tempting, however, should be evaded because it is the antithesis of integrity, fidelity, respect towards participants and absence of justice (Nte et al, 2011).


   The pervasive use of deception in research can be hard to control because researchers have little guidance on the acceptability of specific cases on how this applies to the broad spectrum of psychological research. As a result, many researchers turn to moral philosophy and use of social contract theory to identify conditions in which deception may be justified as morally permissible (Smith et al, 2009). In order to effectively counter deception, reviewers and editors should adjust perception of what constitutes good research; to do this, researchers should be encouraged to conduct studies that are both ethical and valid (Smith et al, 2009). Researchers that are conducting trials that might be physically or emotional draining should have respondents read a consent form of the possible side effects at least this way, the respondents know (APA, 2010).


   One proposed research study that I have an interest in would be to see the effects of the drug metformin on those reducing sugar levels for rats and whether this drug is effective in animals as it is in humans. Considering we are dealing with a pharmacological drug, metformin, as well as deal with live rats, one is looking for a relationship. Human care and use of animals, reporting research results and deception in research will be observed. Since we are dealing with at least 30 some lab rats for this study, one should be trained in rat inventory, proper feeding, proper injection times, proper recording of blood sugar levels in a present interval. The data that one records would be recorded and reported accordingly. If results are positive, one should forward the result to the chair of the research department. If, however, the results are non-confirmatory, then, one should do a combined meta and empirical analysis. The prevention of deception would be attained by telling all researchers and personnel involved of every specifics of the study; there would be no manipulation of data or research protocol. It is possible to conduct research in a ethically sound manner.


Lorenzo

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Re: Ethical Research in Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2012, 01:34:10 PM »
Reference:



American Psychological Association. (2010). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of
conduct: 2010 amendment. Standard 8: Research and Publication. Available:
http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/index.aspx.

Houser, R. (2009). Counseling and educational research: Evaluation and application (2nd ed.).
Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Lowman, R. (2006). Case 29. Accurately Reporting Research Results. In R. L. Lowman,
R. L. Lowman (Eds.) , The ethical practice of psychology in organizations (2nd ed.) (pp.
121-124). American Psychological Association. doi:10.1037/11386-036

Nte, N., Okeke, N., & Irikana, G. (2011). Challenges Of Deception In Intelligence
Process: A Case Study Of Novena University, Nigeria. Franklin Business & Law
Journal, (1), 3-33.

Parks, C. M. (2005). Conducting Behavioral Research With Animals at Smaller
Institutions: Veterinary Care and Facilities. In C. K. Akins, S. Panicker, C. L. 
Cunningham, C. K. Akins, S. Panicker, C. L. Cunningham (Eds.) , Laboratory
animals in research and teaching: Ethics, care, and methods (pp. 69-83). American
Psychological Association. doi:10.1037/10830-004

Smith, N., Kimmel, A. J., & Klein, J. (2009). Social Contract Theory and the Ethics of
Deception in Consumer Research. INSEAD Working Papers Collection, (4), 2-52.



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