Guidelines for Ethical Conduct of Behavioral Projects Involving Human Participants by High School Students


These guidelines were adopted by the Council of Representatives of the American Psychological Association on August 1, 2012, and are scheduled to expire on August 1, 2022. After this date users are encouraged to contact the APA Science Directorate to determine if this document remains in effect.

Improving science literacy in the United States requires strengthening science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education at the middle- and high-school levels. Including a hands-on research experience element in the curricula of scientific disciplines is a crucial part of education in all STEM disciplines, including psychology. Research activities enable students to understand the principles and methods of scientific research in psychology. While engagement in research-based activities at the high school level may be purely educational in nature (that is, they do not generate new knowledge), such activities serve to improve science literacy. In addition to enriching the educational experience, engaging in research also enhances critical thinking, creativity, and original thought. Engaging in research also increases knowledge about the scientific process and introduces students to research career options. Furthermore, it provides an opportunity for students to gain first-hand experience about the ethics underlying research with human participants.