The use and abuse of student participants

Hugh Foot and Alison Sanford on the practical and ethical issues involved in using students in research.

STUDENTS play a crucial role in research: some authors have even called them human ‘fruit flies’ (e.g. Keith-Spiegel & Koocher, 1985; Rubenstein, 1982). They are available in abundance, accessible and highly convenient to use. It is just so much easier than using populations outside the universities. Despite warnings about basing the scientific roots of our discipline on biased participant populations, research in psychology remains heavily reliant upon student participation.

BPS Members can discuss this article

Already a member? Or Create an account

Not a member? Find out about becoming a member or subscriber