Grossmont College Research Ethics Discussion


Please read the following scenario:

Myeshia, a clinical psychologist, is interested in examining the mental well-being of individuals who have had a close family member pass away from COVD-19. Since there is very little research on mental health in the midst of a pandemic, Myeshia decides that the best way to conduct this study is by conducting focus groups and comparing and contrasting the similarities and differences in the grief experience among participants from different racial/ethnic backgrounds. Myeshia uses obituaries and social media posts to recruit participants who identify as Asian, White, Black/African American, and LatinX by telling them they are invited to participate in a study on coping during COVID. After she has recruited enough participants, Myeshia held 4 focus groups. Participants in the focus groups were from all different racial/ethnic groups (mixed-race focus groups). After participants come into the lab, Myeshia explains the purpose of the focus group is to discuss how everyone is coping with their mental and physical health during COVID and starts audio recording the focus group. About halfway through the focus groups, Myeshia starts asking about how the participants are coping with losing someone in their family to COVID. A few participants are immediately upset and asked Myeshia how she knew they had family that passed away and complained that they were unaware this would be a topic in the focus group. Myeshia continues asking about the grieving and funeral process and one participant becomes visibly upset. The participant exclaims that she cannot answer the questions Myeshia is asking because, in her culture, grief looks much different. Myeshia does not ask the participant to explain what she means and instead goes to the next question. Another participant asks if they can leave because they are feeling distressed talking about their grief. Myeshia says no and tells them they are not “allowed” to leave. Throughout the focus group, Myeshia notices that two of the participants didn’t say a word. When the focus group is over, Myeshia approaches the participants to ask why they didn’t participate and learns that English is their second language and they were having trouble understanding more of the questions.

After reading the scenarios, please answer the following questions:

  1. What is Myeshia’s research question?
  2. What type of question is it (descriptive, causal, consequence, or non-directive)
  3. Is the research a quantitative or qualitative study? Explain why you chose this method
  4. How do the ethical guidelines for conducting APA research (Links to an external site.) relate to cross-cultural research in psychology?
  5. Discuss 2 specific principles that might be difficult to address when conducting research with participants from different cultures.
  6. Identify at least two things that would not be considered ethical in the above study and provide suggestions for ways to make the study more ethical. Be sure to use terms from the readings/videos.
  7. Now think about how this study might look if it was conducted in two different countries. Based on your readings and videos, what are some ethical issues a psychologist will need to consider?
  8. Reply to a classmate about their suggestions for #3 above. Do you agree/disagree with the analysis? Provide any suggestions you may have.
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