Ninth Edition CoverGraziano & Raulin
Research Methods (9th edition)

APA (American Psychological Association)
Ethical Guidelines for Research
with Human Subjects

Summarized below are the Ethical guidelines for research with human subjects, which were published by the American Psychological Association  in 1981. These regulations have been incorporated into broader ethical guidelines published more recently. Those broader guidelines can be found on the APA website. However, we believe that the simple guidelines published in 1981 still capture the broad principles of ethics in research well and so have chosen to summarize them here for you. 

Preamble: Scientific research contributes to human welfare. Every researcher automatically assumes responsibility to conduct research with concern and sensitivity for the welfare and dignity of all human participants and to conform to all professional standards and all state and federal regulations regarding research with human participants. This general principle is clarified in the following ten principles.

  1. In planning research, it is the researcher’s responsibility to evaluate and ensure its ethical acceptability, to obtain ethical advice when needed, and to apply careful safeguards to protect participants’ rights.
  2. A primary concern of the investigator is to determine whether the procedures will place participant at risk.
  3. It is the investigator’s responsibility to ensure ethical practice, including that of all collaborators, assistants, employees, and students.
  4. Informed consent must be obtained from all participants prior to the research. If potential participants cannot give consent, such as children, informed consent must be obtained from a responsible surrogate, such as a parent.
  5. If deception is necessary, full disclosure must be made as soon as possible after completion of the research.
  6. Participants’ freedom to decline or to withdraw at any time must be fully respected by the investigator.
  7. Participants must be protected from physical and mental harm. The investigator must provide participants with ways to contact the investigator at any time after completion of the research, should questions arise.
  8. After data collection, full disclosure. explanation, and answers to any questions raised by participants must be provided.
  9. It is the researcher’s responsibility to detect and to remove any negative effects of the research, including long-term consequences.
  10. All information obtained must be held in confidentiality.