Research Ethics Information

  • Ethical Guidelines

    In many of our psychology courses, research using human participants is required as a course assignment. In Psyc 212 (Research Methods in Psychology) you must design and carry out original research. Other psychology courses may also require you to conduct labs or research projects, such as Psyc 100, Psyc 101, Psyc 230 (Cognitive Psychology), and Psyc 204 (Child Development). 

    As you are doing research with human participants, it is imperative that you abide by Capilano University's ethical guidelines for research (from the Tri-Council Policy Statement on research with human participants), and you may be required to complete the TCPS tutorial. 

    Respect for Human Dignity: we must obtain voluntary and informed consent to participate in the research study. To do so we should provide all information that might influence a participant's decision to participate, and avoid coercion of any sort. We must respect vulnerable persons in our research, and respect all participants' right to privacy and confidentiality. In selecting participants, we should consider equity and fairness in receiving the benefits and bearing the burden of the risks. For example, we should not unfairly target segments of the population to be subjects of risky research. Research should maximize benefits and minimize any harmful effects, including physical harm, stress, and loss of privacy and confidentiality. This principle requires a risk-benefit analysis as part of your research ethics review.

    The researcher and the participants have an implied contract, which the researcher has a commitment to fulfill. If you commit to sending participants a copy of your study, for example, you must fulfill your agreement.

    As a student, your research projects must be approved by your instructor. An Ethics Checklist prepared by Dr. Cara Zaskow for student investigators is important to review, to make sure you are abiding by all ethical guidelines. 

    A primary imperative is to obtain informed consent. A sample introduction and consent form has been prepared by Dr. Cara Zaskow. It can be read aloud to participants or given to participants to read.