Discussion: ethics in cross-cultural research

 Please read instructions carefully

Ethics are a critical and essential element of psychology. Psychologists must follow all appropriate laws and policies of their organization, locality, state, nation, and professional group. Additional ethical issues are often posed when conducting research cross-culturally, such as new or different issues regarding power and privilege, and factors involving different ideas and beliefs about gender, age, status, religion, and so on. Great skill and a delicate touch are often required to be certain each person appropriately follow all ethical considerations to the satisfaction of all involved, yet achieving this goal is essential to ensure a high standard of research as well as a high standard of behavior.

For this week, you will examine ethical issues related to cross-cultural research and the necessary course of action. You also will examine ethical dilemmas that you might encounter related to your own personal culture and point-of-view. In addition, you will finalize your Module 4 Assessment for final submission.

While many psychologists may be familiar with ethical considerations in their own culture, such as the use of Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) to review research, or the existence of professional documents such as American Psychological Association’s (APA) code of ethics, when conducting research outside of their majority home culture, they may be at a loss. For instance, the psychologist may not be aware of different rules and regulations for research in different nations, or about various spoken and unspoken cultural beliefs about morals and ethics and the role and purpose of research, such as differing understandings and beliefs about what merits co-authorship or what constitutes privacy and confidentiality. Familiarizing yourself with such ethical considerations will be important for you to understand in your future professional practice. 

Examine ethical issues related to cross-cultural research and the necessary course of action.

 Consider the following:

 Professor Plum wants to investigate cross-cultural differences in attitudes towards different foods. He is very interested in nation “X”. However, he has never been there nor does he know the language or culture or the political situation. He also does not know if there are any psychologists living in that nation. Understanding attitudes about foods in this nation may help with people with eating disorders in Professor Plum’s country and eventually may help people with eating disorders in many nations.

As you consider Professor Plum’s research, think about the impact of his plans on human subject protection. Also, consider the ethical implications of the aims of his research purposes and his ability to gain information that will accurately represent those from whom he collects data.

Before Professor Plum begins his research, post and explain some of the potential ethical issues he will need to consider (i.e., impact on human subject protection) and why this is an important consideration.  Further explain two ethical issues and suggest what courses of action might be appropriate. 

 Note: Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources and identify current relevant literature to support your work. 

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