Use the case study provided and analyse the potential ethical issues involved in conducting the research, applying the NHMRC national statement and guidelines, and the code of ethics relevant to your discipline.

Discussion of case study in terms of ethical issues

Identification of current or potential ethical breaches

Discussion of ethical issues in terms of a relevant Professional Code of Ethics, policy or legislation

Critique and analysis of ethical breaches in terms of ethical guidelines in research informed by the NHMRC Ethical Guidelines in Social Research, including ethical guidelines to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and mental health consumers

Main ideas clearly and logically presented

Relevant research and scholarship literature used appropriately to support claims

Correct academic writing style used, including correct spelling, grammar and punctuation

Presentation guidelines followed as specified in the learning support website

In-text referencing and reference list follows APA referencing style (6th ed.) as set out in the APA website:

Word count is within + or – 10% of requirement.


Case Study 1
Hannah is committed to designing research procedures to evaluate the process and outcome of her counselling programs. She is convinced that in order to obtain valid data, she must keep the research participants ignorant in many respects of what she is doing.
She believes that it is important that her clients be unaware that they are being studied and also unaware of the hypothesis under investigation.
Although she agrees that some ethical issues may be raised by her failing to inform her clients, she thinks that good research designs call for such procedures. She does not want to influence her clients and thus bias her results. She contends that her practice of gathering data from her clients without them knowing are justified because there are no negative consequences or risks involved with her research. She further contends that if she is able to refine her therapeutic techniques through her research this will benefit future clients.
What are your thoughts about Hannah’s ethical approach and the rationale she gives for not obtaining informed consent?
Assume that she was interested in studying the effects of therapist’s reinforcement of statements by clients during sessions. Do you think that if the clients knew she was using certain procedures and studying certain behaviors, it would bias the results?
If the value of the research seems to be greater than the risks involved to participants, do you think the researcher is justified in not obtaining the informed consent of her clients?
What other ethical principles do you believe the researcher is breaching?