Research Ethics

Unethical experiments (1-4 minimum total 500 words)
Hypothesis
• Low tolerance for pain causes tension headaches in humans.

1. Try to come up with an operationalization of one feature of interest in the hypothesis which you would consider to be unethical.
Explain why it is unethical, using a normative theory. Is this operationalization better than an ethical one, in terms of how
certain you are of the correctness of the result? Why is it better?

2. Would an experiment using this operationalization be more or less ethical if it was performed on dogs instead of humans?

Why? Anchor your answer in at least one ethical theory.
3. How could an experiment with low internal validity be unethical, in general? How about low external validity? What would
this mean in your experiment?

4. How can informed consent be a problem for experimental quality in general? How could this be a problem in your experiment?
Precautionary principle (5-7 minimum total 300 words)

5. What is the precautionary principle? If you had discovered a drug that might increase a person’s tolerance for pain, how
could the precautionary principle be applied? Can you think of a situation where it would be more ethical not to follow the
precautionary principle?
Scientific misconduct

6. Imagine that you are finished with your experiments and have all your data on a hard-drive, but that this hard-drive malfunction
and you cannot retrieve the data. You feel very confident that you remember all data points, since you have worked with it
so much in the last months. If you were to recreate this data from your own memory, would it be fabrication, falsification – or
would it be completely ethical? Explain and argue for your answer. Remember the correct to use definitions and course terminology.
Authorship

7. Imagine now that you are to write an article about your experiment, and that half the data you have used was produced in an
earlier experiment by another research team, which hasn’t been published as an article. Your conclusions are based on their
data as well as your own, but you have not worked together. Because of this use of their data, they demand to be stated as coauthors
of the paper. Should you do it? Explain and argue for your answer. Remember the correct to use definitions and course
terminology.

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