The data collection dilemma: An ethical issue for all psychological research

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There is an apparent conflict between a key precept of scientific method and an apparent requirement of ethical behaviour, all of the standard scientific procedures result in repeated observations. This may be done by sampling from a large population of people or situations, by making many observations from each individual, or by repeating experiments a number of times. On the other hand, provisions of codes of ethical behaviour, such as that adopted by the Psychological Society of ireland, emphasise the importance, for research psychologists, of minimising the number of participants or the number of times an experiment is carried out. In this papar, some of the justifications for both the `'scientific approach'' and the `'ethical approach'' are outlined, and a way of resolving the apparent paradox is outlined. This resolution depends on research issues being set in their social context, rather than being dealt with in the formulaic manner which is generally used, and on the social and scientific value of a research programme being a conspicuous part of the research design.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-155
JournalIrish journal of Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1996


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