Unit 10

Unit 10:
How to Act Ethically as a Psychological Scientist
Unit 10: Assignment #1 (due before 11:59 pm Central on MON JUL 23):

  1. To learn why it’s important, in general, to understand research ethics, read Resnik’s (2015) article, “What Is Ethics in Research & Why Is It Important?
  2. To learn about research ethics specific to conducting research with human participants:
    1. Read McLeod’s (2015) article, “Psychology Research Ethics.”
    2. Watch Udacity’s (2015) YouTube, “Ethics in Research – Psychology.”
    3. Read Psych Yogi’s (2015) article, “Ethical Issues in Psychology.”
    4. Be sure to notice the principles and procedures that are specific to research with human participants.
  3. To learn about research ethics specific to conducting research with child participants:
    1. Read the Society for Research in Child Development’s (2007) article, “Ethical Standards in Research.”
    2. Be sure to notice the principles and procedures that are specific to research with child participants.
  4. To learn about research ethics specific to conducting research with non-human animals:
    1. Read the American Psychological Association’s (2012) pamphlet, “Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in the Care and Use of Nonhuman Animals in Research.”
    2. Be sure to notice the principles and procedures that are specific to conducting research with non-human animals.
  5. Write a Reasons-style five-paragraph essay arguing for the importance of research ethics based on
    1. three reasons why ethics, in general, are important in research OR
    2. three reasons why ethics specific to conducting research with human participants are important OR
    3. three reasons why ethics specific to conducting research with child participants are important OR
    4. three reasons why ethics specific to conducting research with non-human animals are important.
    5. Make sure your five-paragraph essay contains all the necessary components of a five-paragraph essay (check yourself with the checklist in the Peer-Review Guidelines).
  6. In addition, your Reasons essay must (and undoubtedly will need to) include at least one (and most likely more) in-text citations (placed in parentheses at the end of the sentence).
    1. Remember that any information you paraphrase (or quote) from this Assignment’s required readings must be cited with an in-text citation.
    2. Because all the readings for this Assignment are from webpages (and one video), be sure to use the “website” option for APA-style citations (or the “video” option if you are citing the video).
    3. Also include the full citations at the end of your essay for all in-text citations you include within your essay.
    4. Save your Reasons essay as a PDF, and name the file YourLastname_EthicsReasons_Essay.pdf.
  7. Go to the Unit 10: Assignment #1 Discussion Board:
    1. Make a new post of at least 50 words in which you explain which aspect of research ethics (e.g., general research ethics, research ethics for human participants, research ethics for child participants, or research ethics for non-human animal participants) you chose for your Reasons essay — and why.
    2. Attach your Reasons essay PDF to your post (the word count in your essay file does not contribute to your 50-word explanation).

Unit 10: Assignment #2 (due before 11:59 pm Central on MON JUL 23):

  1. Write an Examples-style five-paragraph essay illustrating the practice of research ethics based on
    1. three examples of general ethical principles or procedures in research OR
    2. three examples of ethical principles or procedures that are specific to research conducted with human participants OR
    3. three examples of ethical principles or procedures that are specific to research conducted with child participants OR
    4. three examples of ethical principles or procedures that are specific to research conducted with non-human animals.
    5. Make sure your five-paragraph essay contains all the necessary components of a five-paragraph essay (check yourself with the checklist in the Peer-Review Guidelines).
  2. In addition, your Examples essay must (and undoubtedly will need to) include at least one (and most likely more) in-text citations (placed in parentheses at the end of the sentence).
    1. Remember that any information you paraphrase (or quote) from this Assignment’s required readings must be cited with an in-text citation.
    2. Because all the readings for this Assignment are from webpages (and one video), be sure to use the “website” option for APA-style citations (or the “video” option if you are citing the video).
    3. Also include the full citation at the end of your essay for all in-text citations you include within your essay.
    4. Save your Examples essay as a PDF, and name the file YourLastname_EthicsExamples_Essay.pdf.
  3. Go to the Unit 10: Assignment #2 Discussion Board:
    1. Make a new post of at least 50 words in which you identify which aspect of research ethics (e.g., general research ethics, research ethics for human participants, research ethics for child participants, or research ethics for non-human animal participants) you chose for your Examples essay — and why.
    2. Attach your Examples essay PDF to your post (the word count in your essay file does not contribute to your 50-word explanation).

Unit 10: Assignment #3 (due before 11:59 pm Central on TUE JUL 24):

  1. To learn some of the history behind current-day research ethics:
    1. Read Youngpeter’s (2009) article, “Controversial Psychological Research Methods and Their Influence on the Development of Formal Ethical Guidelines.” (Note that Youngpeter was an undergraduate student when she published this journal article.)
    2. Watch SciShow’s (2016) YouTube, “5 Psychology Experiments You Couldn’t Do Today.”
    3. Read Jarrett’s (2014) article, “The 10 Most Controversial Psychology Studies Ever Published.”
      • Note that Jarrett is not equating ‘controversial’ with ‘unethical,’ although there is overlap between some of the studies he deems controversial and some of the studies other authors deem unethical.
  2. Next, read Fescoe’s (2016) article, “The 25 Most Influential Psychological Experiments in History.”
  3. Then, read Shweder and Nisbett’s (2017) article, “Long-Sought Research Deregulation Is Upon Us: Don’t Squander the Moment,” which argues, in current day, for reduced research ethics oversight of “benign behavioral interventions (including ordinary psychology experiments).”
  4. Refresh your memory from Unit 1: Assignment #3 about the prerequisites for being ‘entitled to your opinion’ (i.e., you are entitled to simple tastes of preferences, like preferring vanilla over chocolate ice cream, but to have your opinions “treated as serious candidates” for logic and reason, you are only ‘entitled to your opinion’ if you provide evidence-based arguments, Braithwaite, 2006; Stokes, 2012).
  5. Go to the Unit 10: Assignment #3 and #5 Discussion Board and make a new post of at least 200 words in which you
    1. Identify and discuss, with evidence-based arguments, which five of Fescoe’s list of “The 25 Most Influential Psychological Experiments in History” you consider the least ethical, and
    2. Identify and discuss, with evidence-based arguments, which five of Fescoe’s list of “The 25 Most Influential Psychological Experiments in History” you consider the most ethical.

Unit 10: Assignment #4 (due before 11:59 pm Central on TUE JUL 24):

  1. To learn what Questionable Research Practices are and how they differ from more flagrant forms of unethical research behavior:
    1. Read the Association for Psychological Science’s (2012) article, “Questionable Research Practices Surprisingly Common.”
    2. Read Butler, Delaney, and Spoelstra’s (2016) article, “The Grey Zone: How Questionable Research Practices Are Blurring the Boundary Between Science and Misconduct.”
      • Note that Butler et al.’s popular press article is about Questionable Research Practices in the discipline of business, not psychology.
      • Also note that Butler et al.’s popular press article links to their scientific article; however, their scientific article is behind a paywall.
    3. Read Schimmack’s (2015) article, “Questionable Research Practices: Definition, Detection, and Recommendations for Better Practices.”
    4. Note that Schimmack’s (2015) article lists (and defines) seven Questionable Research Practices, and Butler et al.’s (2016) article adds another one (HARKing).
  2. Make sure you understand the Questionable Research Practices that are described in the articles you’ve read for this Assignment. If you don’t understand one or more of the Questionable Research Practices, it might help to Google them to better understand them.
  3. Now, read three empirical articles that have all used the same questionnaire to measure how often psychological scientists engage in various Questionable Research Practices.
    1. Read John, Loewenstein, and Prelec’s (2012) article, “Measuring the Prevalence of Questionable Research Practices with Incentives for Truth Telling.”
    2. Read Agnoli, Wicherts, Veldkamp, Albiero, and Cubelli’s (2017) article, “Questionable Research Practices among Italian Research Psychologists.”
    3. Read Fiedler and Schwarz’s (2016) article, “Questionable Research Practices Revisited.”
    4. NOTE:
      • You do not need to read these three articles with the same level of analysis as you did the articles you found and read in Unit 5 and Unit 6 (we will apply that level of analysis to other articles later in the course).
      • However, you do need to read these three articles well enough to understand the results on the questionnaire that measured psychological scientists’ use of Questionable Research Practices.
  4. Write three different paragraphs, each of which synthesizes the results of one of the three empirical articles.
    1. Each paragraph should have a Topic Sentence, three or four Supporting Sentences, and a Conclusion Sentence.
    2. Remember to write about behavior and phenomena (not the authors of the articles and their study).
    3. However, because the behavior and phenomena you are synthesizing in these paragraphs are research practices and psychological scientists, your supporting sentences will be about researchers (just not the researchers who conducted the three studies!).
    4. You might want to distinguish your three paragraphs by the participants’ three nationalities (e.g., “U.S. psychological scientists …”; “Italian psychological scientists …”; and “German psychological scientists …”), although that’s not required.
    5. Remember to include in-text (parenthetical) citations.
    6. Also include a full APA-style citation after each paragraph of the article that your paragraph synthesizes (and cited in-text).
  5. Go to the Unit 10: Assignment #4 Discussion Board and post your three paragraphs.
    1. Remember that if you copy/paste into the Discussion Board from Word, you will probably need to remove extra lines in between your paragraphs.
    2. Also, on your Discussion Board post, comment in at least 50 words, after you’ve presented your three paragraphs, whether you were surprised by the results of these three articles – and why or why not.

Unit 10: Assignment #5 (due before 11:59 pm Central on WED JUL 25):

  1. Go to the Unit 10: Assignment #3 and #5 Discussion Board and read the posts made by the other members (or member) of your Chat Group.
  2. If you are in a Chat Group with only one other member, also read one other student’s post (i.e., a student who is not a member of your Chat Group).
  3. Make two response posts, each of at least 200 words; one response post should be to each of the two other members of your Chat Group (if you are in a Chat Group with two other members) or to the other member of your Chat Group and another student who is not a member of your Chat Group (if you are in a Chat Group with only one other member).
    1. In each of your two response posts, identify the experiments that you and the student to whom you are responding both agreed were the least ethical and identify the experiments that you and the student to whom you are responding both agreed were the most ethical.
    2. Also identify the experiments that you and the student to whom you are responding differed in your evidence-based opinions on whether they were least or most ethical. Why do you think you and the student to whom you are responding differed in your evidence-based opinions?
  4. If you are in a Chat Group with two other members, and one or both other Chat Group members hasn’t yet posted their Unit 10: Assignment #3 — and the due date for Unit 10: Assignment #3 has passed — you should respond to one or two students who are not in your Chat Group.
  5. If you are in a Chat Group with only one other member, and that other Chat Group member hasn’t yet posted their Unit 10: Assignment #3 — and the due date for Unit 10: Assignment #3 has passed — you should respond to two students who are not in your Chat Group.

Unit 10: Assignment #6 (due before 11:59 pm Central on WED JUL 25):

  1. Listen to Act One of NPR’s This American Life’s (August 16, 2013) episode, “Money for Nothing and Your Cows for Free.” (A transcript of this radio episode is available here.)
    1. To play the episode, click on the rightward-facing ‘play’ triangle underneath the picture of the person on the motor-scooter.
    2. Listen until the 36:30 mark (when host Ira Glass says “Their blog and twice-weekly podcast about economics, but for the rest of us …”).
    3. Note that GiveDirectly has conducted a randomized controlled trial to investigate the benefits of their charity, whereas Heifer International insists that they don’t need to conduct a randomized controlled trial to learn the benefits of their charity (and they seem to imply that conducting a randomized controlled trial might not be ethical).
    4. Review from Unit 4: Assignment #5 what a randomized controlled trial is (and where it lies on the Hierarchy of Scientific Evidence).
    5. Jot down three reasons why Heifer International conducting a randomized controlled trial could be unethical and three reasons why Heifer International not conducting a randomized controlled trial could be unethical.
  2. Watch CBS News New York’s (March 6, 2015) YouTube, “Volunteers Become Human Guinea Pigs for Medical Research.” Jot down three reasons why you would and three reasons why you wouldn’t volunteer to be a research participant in this type of research.
  3. Watch Boston Children’s Hospital’s (April 18, 2012) YouTube, “Labs of Cognitive Neuroscience – Gaab’s Lab.”
    1. Note that the researcher states they already have (and use) behavioral (non-invasive) measures of dyslexia, but they are investigating whether there are any brain markers.
    2. Imagine if you were the parent of a typically developing child (with no reading disorder). Jot down three reasons why you would and three reasons why you would not volunteer your typically developing child to participate in the brain imaging experiment (as a member of the control group).
  4. Meet online with Chat Group for an online chat lasting one hour. Prior to your Chat Group meeting, all members of your Chat Group must have completed steps a., b., and c. of this Assignment.
  5. During your hour-long Chat, discuss and debate (in a friendly way):
    1. every Chat Group member’s three reasons why Heifer International conducting a randomized controlled trial could be unethical and everyone’s three reasons why Heifer International not conducting a randomized controlled trial could be unethical;
    2. every Chat Group member’s three reasons why they would versus would not volunteer to be a participant in medical research (as shown in the CBS News video); and
    3. every Chat Group member’s three reasons why they would versus would not volunteer their typically developing child to participate in the brain imaging experiment (as shown in the Boston Children’s Hospital video).
  6. At the end of your hour-long Chat,
    1. Nominate one member of your Chat Group (who participated in the Chat) to make a post on the Unit 10: Assignment #6 Discussion Board that summarizes your Group Chat in at least 200 words.
    2. Nominate another member of your Chat Group (who also participated in the Chat) to save the Chat transcript as a webpage, to make a post on the Unit 10: Assignment #6 Discussion Board; and to attach the Chat transcript, saved as a webpage (i.e., .htm or .html), to that Discussion Board post.
    3. Nominate another member of your Chat Group (who also participated in the Chat) to make another post on the Unit 10: Assignment #6 Discussion Board that states the name of your Chat Group, the names of the Chat Group members who participated the Chat, the date of your Chat, and the start and stop time of your Chat.
    4. If only two persons participated in the Chat, then one of those two persons needs to do two of the above three tasks.
    5. Before ending the Group Chat, your Chat Group might want to arrange the time for the Group Chat you will need to hold during the next Unit (Unit 11: Assignment #6).
  7. All members of the Chat Group must record a typical Unit entry in your own Course Journal for Unit 10.

Congratulations, you have finished Unit 10! Onward to Unit 11!