- Research Involving the Use of Human Research Participants at King's College
- Experimenter Guidelines for Using Human Research Participants
- Ethical Principles of Psychological Research
- King's College IRB Proposal Form
- Faculty supervising student research (IRB Checklist)
Research Involving the Use of Human Research Participants at King's College
The King's College Institutional Review Board (IRB) reviews all research involving humans as participants prior to its initiation. Researchers using human research participants are expected to know and follow the standards for professional conduct as outlined in the APA's Ethical Principles in the Conduct of Research with Human Participants . Of special concern are the issues involving informed consent, full disclosure, and confidentiality of the participant's responses. Approval must be sought when the experimental plans are complete and before the involvement of human participants in the project. For copies of experimenter guidelines, a brief synopsis of the APA ethical principles and an application packet contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Experimenter Guidelines for Using Human Research Participants
These guidelines apply to all research involving the use of Human Research Participants at King's College. Following these guidelines carefully will help ensure that your participants are treated in ethical manner as well as benefit fully from their research experience. If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Ann Yezerski. You may either call her at 208-5900 (EXT 5602) or e-mail her at email@example.com.
Ethical Principles of the American Psychological Association
Researchers using Human Research Participants are expected to know and follow the standards for professional conduct as outlined in the APA's Ethical Principles in the Conduct of Research with Human Participants . Of special concern are the issues involving informed consent, full disclosure, and confidentiality of the participant's responses. A brief synopsis of these principles is available from Dr. Yezerski. Researchers can find the complete ethical code for conducting research at web site of the American Psychological Association (http://www.apa.org).
Obtaining Approval to Use the Psychology Research Participant
Each experimenter must receive approval by submitting a “Use of Human Research Participants” application to the Institutional Review Board (IRB) in care of Dr. Yezerski, Chair, before he or she may recruit volunteer Research Participants.
This application contains questions regarding the nature and location of the research, the approximate number of participants the desires to recruit for his or her study, and other information pertinent for the Board to make an informed decision concerning the ethical nature of the planned research study. The completed application should be submitted to Dr. Yezerski. Typically, reviewed applications are returned to the experimenter within two weeks of submission. Studies approved by the IRB are then assigned a registration code number.
After the participant has either finished participating in your study or has terminated his or her involvement in the study, you must fully debrief the individual.
Ethical Principles of Psychological Research
Researchers must deal ethically and responsibly with all research participants, to ensure that their experience with psychological research is a positive one. The American Psychological Association's Ethical Principles in the Conduct of Research with Human participants (1981) includes the following obligations in its list of professional responsibilities.
Confidentiality (Principle 10): Any personal information (participant's address, phone number, attitudes, performance on a task, etc.) that is obtained in connection with the research should not be revealed to others. Results should be reported in such a way that readers cannot identify particular individuals.
Informed consent (Principles 3 and 6): Before a potential research participant is allowed to participate, the researcher must describe to him or her "all aspects of the research that might reasonably be expected to influence willingness to participate," including anticipated risks as well as benefits. Unless there is strong justification for some degree of concealment or deception, the researcher must also explain "all other aspects of the research about which participants inquire." Once they have been informed in this way, the participants are asked to sign a consent form. By signing the consent form, they verify that they understand the risks and benefits involved in participating, and that they are aware of their right to withdraw from the research at any time without penalty. If the research involves children or mentally impaired adults, special safeguards for consent are needed.
Freedom to withdraw (Principle 5): Your research participants are free to quit at any time during the research session, and they must be told this as part of the informed consent procedure. If they are students participating in order to fulfill their research requirement in PY 103: Introduction to Psychology class, you must award them credit as soon as they sign the consent form so they know they will not lose credit by withdrawing.
Protection from harm (Principles 7, 8, and 9): Researchers must avoid risking discomfort, danger, or harm to research participants. Videotaping in which participants are clearly identifiable, studies of potentially criminal activities (such as drug use), or treatments that can produce lasting change are examples of procedures that may place the participants at risk. Even apparently harmless procedures may make participants embarrassed or confused, so it is necessary to debrief all research participants by telling them something about the basic question under investigation as soon as they completed their research session.
Debriefing (Principles 4 and 8): Experimenters should write out their debriefing statement as part of the approval process. This should be read to the research participants during the debriefing period. During the post experimental interview, experiments should encourage the individual to ask questions, and explain anything he or she did not understand. For example, the experimenter should ask participants about how they felt about the study, and in particular ask whether anything seemed odd or disturbing. If concealment or deception was involved, "the investigator is required to ensure the participant's understanding of the reasons for this action and to restore the quality of the relationship with the investigator." The experimenter should also offer to share the final results of the investigation with the research participants upon completion of the study. Finally, the experimenter should ask the research participants to not discuss his or her ongoing study with other potential research participants as this may public discussion about the nature of your study may help to contaminate an otherwise well controlled study.