Ethical Considerations in Research

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What you need to know…

Before the American Psychological Association (APA), the British Psychological Society (BPS) and other psychological organisations issued their “Codes of Ethics”, numerous experiments and studies were carried out that would not be permitted today by these codes.

The Codes of Ethics are guidelines and standards that psychologists must abide by when conducting research. Psychological research must be approved by an ethics review board which determines whether or not the study can be carried out.

Ethics are similar to morals in that they are ideas of right and wrong ways to behave. Whereas morals are about human behaviour in general, ethics often refers to specific situations, groups or organisations. Ethics in Psychological research refers to acceptable practices of researchers when studying human and animal behaviour.

You can find a summary of the ethical guidelines for studying on people and on animals on the quantitative research methods page.

What you need to do…

Watch this video on the famous Asch experiment on conformity. What ethical considerations are there in this experiment?

Watch this video on the famous Harry Harlow experiments on monkeys and attachment. What ethical considerations are there in these experiments?

You may use terms such as “deception” or simply explain the ethical considerations and/or issues that are present in these studies.


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