Many of you may not be aware that the BPS published new documents relating to ethical practice in August 2009 which you can access here. There has been quite a considerable shift of emphasis. There is now a general document ‘Code of Ethics and Conduct’ which identifies four overriding principles: respect, competence, responsibility and integrity. In conjunction with this are various ethical guidelines such as ‘Ethical principles for conducting research with human participants’ and ‘Guidelines for minimum standards of ethical approval in psychological research’. There are also guidelines for conducting research on the internet, research within the NHS, research with people who do not have the capacity to consent and research with animals.
In the document on research with human participants the following issues are discussed: consent, deception, debriefing, withdrawal from the investigation, confidentiality, protection of participants and privacy in observational research.