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New BPS research and ethics guidance

29 October 2020

We’ve published new best practice guidance for research psychologists working with human participants during Covid-19, including a new statement for independent researchers on ethics reviews.

Covid-19 has presented new practical and ethical challenges for psychologists undertaking research, not least because the need to rapidly generate evidence must be balanced with the realities of the situation we are in.

Considered within the context of the four primary ethical principles highlighted by the Code of Human Research Ethics, ‘Ethics best practice guidance on conducting research with human participants during Covid-19’ outlines the considerations and aims to assist researchers in recognising ethical practice issues during these unique circumstances.

Dr Lisa Morrison-Coulthard, head of research and impact at the BPS, said: 

“We know the Covid-19 pandemic has affected many research activities, however it’s so important that now, more than ever, we are able to work safely and ethically with people to both understand the psychological impact of the pandemic itself, whilst also continuing to deliver unrelated research projects.

This guidance outlines the key considerations researchers need to bear in mind when embarking upon research with human participants during the pandemic, within a best practice framework.”

Alongside this, the new BPS ‘Statement on ethics review and independent research with human participants’ aims to support researchers who are working independently from an organisation that has an established, formal ethics review process, and provide guidance on how to proceed if the researcher is seeking an ethics review. 

We have  also updated our guidance for psychologists working with animals to reflect current best practice and legal responsibilities under the UK Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 and Animal Welfare Act (2006).

These guidelines will be used by the editors of the journals of the Society in assessing the acceptability of submitted manuscripts.

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