Ethics Paper Informed Consent in Industrial/Psychological Research July 31, 2011 Foundations of Industrial/Organizational Psychology Abstract There are certain conditions where reasonable exceptions that APA ethical standards and federal guidelines insure in research that human participation will be ethical due to informed consent. In federal guidelines the preferred mechanism is informed consent in order to protect the human participants (APA, 1992). Informed Consent Informed consent is when an individual gives permission to participate in future events after receiving instruction about the events they may wish to be a part of.
Informed consent is put in place to prevent lawsuits. Obtaining consent is similar in all circumstances (Jones, 2011). In order to be considered valid, informed consent must be given voluntarily from a participant that is competent (Cherry, 2011). When is Informed Consent Required? In order to arrive at a better understanding of the subject matter, research is necessary. When conducting research and using human participants, the need to know whether informed consent is necessary is vital. To err on the side of safety, always obtain informed consent in any research situation if you have any doubts as to the necessity (Cherry, 2011).
Require and acquire informed consent if: 1). Participants answer questions in their native language. Determine what data is needed, true/false or multiple choice questions, or surveys and whether or not this material can provide needed data. 2). When using a small group of participants, but determine ahead of time how many participants you will need. 3). When using identifying information or questions answered regarding sensitive or controversial language from your participants, also make the decision whether you can allow the participants to remain anonymous (Cherry, 2011).
Exceptions to Informed Consent There are very limited conditions where both the APA and federal guidelines allow exceptions to informed consent. The APA is less explicit to the necessary conditions for exceptions, where the federal guidelines are very explicit. Examples are as follows: There has to be minimal risk involved in the research, the welfare of the participants’ rights are not affected by either altering or waiving informed consent, without the waiver, the research cannot be practically carried out, or having participated, upon completion of the research, the participants can be informed.
These are the only exceptions the federal guidelines allow to informed consent (45 CFR Part 46, 1991). In I/O Psychology, field studies allow for exceptions to informed consent that sometimes meet these conditions. On occasion, there is data collection that serves both science and practice that is collected from employees. An example would be recording a telephone conversation at the local phone company where customer service employees and customers are monitored for coaching related to employee relations and/or performance.
The customer and employee are informed of the conversation being recorded. If the data was going to be used in a study such as persuasion or negotiation, by the researcher, or as a study, both the customer and the employee would have to be informed of the purpose of the research prior to the recording and a consent needed to participate or the need of an acceptable exception to informed consent would apply (Ilgen & Bell, 2001).
There have been a number of conditions that continue to cause or raise concern regarding the researchers’ ability to rationalize exceptions to informed consent, this being in spite of I/O Psychological research being carried out in ways that protect the research participants’ well-being without the use of informed consent, one being a shift in the oversight of the ethical treatment of research participants.
Once upon a time, (IRBs) or Institutional Review Boards were established at organizations and were involved in the conduct and research protocols, for human participant treatment. IRB members were gathered from outside and inside the organization to represent the expectations and values of communities. Board members values of the treatment of human participants in research and also by the ethical standards that were affiliated by the professional associations of the ethical standards (IRB, 1997).
Control over what is and what is not reasonable treatment of human participants, today, still exists in IRBs and the ethical standards of scientific associations, such as the APA. An example is authors submitting their work to psychological journals such as Psychological Science, are instructed to inform the public that, “Investigations on human participants must include a statement indicating that informed consent was obtained…” (Psychological Science, 1999). Informed consent is required; there is no option for exceptions (APA, 1992). Conclusion
When obtained from the participant or participants’ legally authorized representative, documented in a consistent manner with the Health and Human Services protection of human participants regulations, and with applicable laws of the jurisdiction in which the research is conducted, informed consent is considered legally effective. In other words, the regulations ensure that an investigator should seek consent only under circumstances that provide the participant or a representative that is legally authorized the sufficient opportunity to consider if they are willing to participate and minimizes the possibility of undue influence or coercion.
The information should be presented in a manner that is understandable to the participant or legal representative. Exculpatory language is not to be included whether written or oral with informed consent requirements in the regulations and are not intended to override any applicable local, state, or federal laws that require additional information to be legally effective for consent (45 CFR 46. 116(e), 1991). References American Psychological Association. Committee for the Protection of Human Participants in Research. 1992). Ethical Principles. American Psychologist, 47. Cherry, K. (2011). What is Informed Consent? Retrieved from http://psychology. about. com/od/iindex/g/def_informedcon. htm on July 31, 2011. Federal Register. (1991). Protection of human subjects: Title 45, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 46, Vol. 56 Number 28003. June 18. Federal Register (1997). Protection of human subjects: Suggested revisions to the Institutional Review Board (IRB) expedited review list.
Vol. 62. Number 217. 60607, November 10, pp. 1-8 Ilgen, D. R. & Bell, B. S. (2001). Conducting Industrial and Organizational Psychological Research: Institutional Review of Research in Work Organizations. Ethics and Behavior, 11, 395-412. Jones, A. (2011). How to obtain consent. Retrieved from www. ehow. com/how_7789509_obtain_informed-consent. html on July 31, 2011. Psychological Sciences. (1999). Information for contributors, 10, inside back cover of each issue.