Edited by Jamie (ScienceAid Editor), Jen Moreau


This page is concerned with ethical guidelines in Psychological research. Ethics are a set of moral principles and values that are used in Psychological research to make sure participants are treated fairly. In the past, guidelines for research was less strict by nowadays it is one of the most important issues when planning research.

Was this helpful? Yes | No| I need help

They are important because, unlike other sciences, Psychology is primarily about humans, and unlike bacteria or chemicals who don't care what you do to them; people have feelings.


The British Psychological Society (BPS) publishes ethical guidelines, and below is a summary of these. They categorize them under four main areas and within these are relevant issues.

Respect Competence Responsibility Integrity
General respect Respect individuals and do not be prejudiced based on any differences (race, sexuality, language etc).

Privacy Keep as little personal information as possible and ensure this is kept confidential.

Informed Consent Participants should be asked permission to take part beforehand and fully informed (as far as possible without giving away the experiment aim) about what and why they are doing.

Researcher should be professional and have an understanding of ethical guidelines.

You need to recognize and be aware of ethical dilemmas throughout the research.

Also need to be aware of the limitations that ethics places on the experiment.

Protecting participants to avoid harm to participants whether that be psychological (stress, anxiety) or physical and don't use the financial reward to make them do something they wouldn't otherwise.

Termination Participants have the right to leave an experiment at any time and should be made fully aware of this.

Debrief At the end of their participation, information the subjects of the aim and purpose of the experiment and clear up any problems so participants are completely happy.

Be honest and accurate in everything you say and do not misinterpret anything.

Don't try and influence the results in any way because of any particular interest.

Further Information

If you need any more information about ethics in Psychology then have a look at the following: British Psychological Society American Psychological Association Australian Psychological Society

If you have any more site that you think are relevant then contact me by using the link in the footer (just below this sentence)!

Referencing this Article

If you need to reference this article in your work, you can copy-paste the following depending on your required format:

APA (American Psychological Association)
Ethics. (2017). In ScienceAid. Retrieved Sep 30, 2023, from

MLA (Modern Language Association) "Ethics." ScienceAid, Accessed 30 Sep 2023.

Chicago / Turabian "Ethics." Accessed Sep 30, 2023.

If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


ScienceAid welcomes all comments. If you do not want to be anonymous, register or log in. It is free.

Article Info

Categories : Approaches

Recent edits by: Jamie (ScienceAid Editor)

Share this Article:

Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 23 times.


Thank Our Volunteer Authors.

Would you like to give back to the community by fixing a spelling mistake? Yes | No