There are several reasons why ethics are important in the conducting of scientific research. Ethical norms are a means of clearly identifying the aims of the research. This often sets the bounds of the research and areas where transgression may lead towards unethical practices. This also means compliance to health and safety standards within the research facility and prevention of ethical lapses that might otherwise do harm to the public; this particularly where hazardous materials are being used like biological or radioactive materials. (Resnik, D.B. 2013).
HUMAN RESEARCH ISSUES
There has been a great deal of controversy surrounding the concept of Genetic Engineering and that of cloning. Any new science requires ethical boundaries and standards of practice that need to be legally enforced to prevent malpractice or exploitation that may impact the lives of millions of people. . A common definition is the applied use of science and research, together with the supporting technology, to facilitate the manipulation of genetic materials in order to alter the traits of a cell or organism.
The concept of genetic engineering in medical practice has been challenged on both ethical and moral grounds. Those dealing with genetic programming of both humans and animals are interfering with the process of nature. The moral issues are associated with the fact that we are now entering a world where we can change our human composition, our environment and determine what future generations will look like. The manipulation of human genomes poses serious ethical and moral challenges, which Willard Gaylin described as the ‘Frankenstein Factor’. Scientists/Researchers should not be given a blank canvas to play on without suitable legal controls and stipulated boundaries. (Boone, K.C. 1988). With regard to the concept of cloning in both humans and animals there are three main considerations from an ethical perspective. These being (1) Legal Ethical responsibility (2) The Moral Ethical dilemma and (3) The resultant social implications.
PSYCHOLOGY AND ETHICS
The Americal Psychological Association (APA) governs the ethical guidelines and policies for all of its members in the USA. All members are committed to the APA Ethics code. Charges of ethical miscondict may result in disbarment from the APA. The Ethics and Standard code has been compiled to protect both the welfare and safety of psychoogists and the public. Standard 8 deals with the ethical considerations of scientific research and the subject of informed consent. In addition the complex matter of using animals in laboratory research. (American Psychological Association, 2013)
The use of animal experimentation and testing is associated with the applied use of animals in experiments and testing drugs to determine safety levels. This before proceeding to human clinical trials. This has remained a highly controversial subject as often the animals in question are injured, made to suffer pain and may even be killed. The main excuse being that there is a need to test drugs on animal subjects before proceeding with human experimentation.
Questions for participating in animal research study:
- Is the study complying to the APA Ethical code of conduct and standards as part of the research study?
- Have the subjects, participating in the research, provided informed consent?
- What steps have been put in place to protect the subjects from discomfort or harm?
American Psychological Association. (2013, 2 9). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct. Retrieved from American Psychological Association: http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/index.aspx
Boone, K. (1988). Bad Axioms in Genetic Engineering. Hastings Centre Report Vol 18.
Resnik, D. B. (2013, 2 9). What is Ethics in Research & Why is it Important? Retrieved from National Institute of Health Environment Sciences: http://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/resources/bioethics/whatis/