Many books discuss the ethical treatment of human subjects in behavioral research, yet few talk about the equally important ethical issues that arise when the data are being analyzed and the study is being written up. All researchers need to be aware of their professional responsibilities and make sound choices after the subjects have left.

This practical and easy-to-follow guide walks readers through often overlooked decision points in the research process.

Drawing from his extensive experience as a teacher of research methods and a senior editorial advisor, and from well-established standards of practice — including the APA Ethics Code — Harris Cooper is the ideal mentor in this process.

Readers of this book will learn how to:

  • Collect and manage data in a way that does not compromise the confidentiality of subjects
  • Avoid data fraud and misleading data analysis
  • Assign research responsibilities and authorships to team members
  • Avoid committing plagiarism and intellectual theft
  • Navigate the journal submission and publication process

Post-publication ethical considerations are also addressed, including researchers' obligations when communicating their findings to the media and the general public, and when engaging with the scientific community as a peer reviewer.

Table of Contents



I. Planning Research to Avoid Later Ethical Problems

  1. Choosing a Topic and Method
  2. Authorship: Responsibility and Credit for Research

II. Data Management

  1. Data Collection and Handling of Data Sets
  2. Misconduct With Data
  3. Data Analysis

III. Report Preparation

  1. Contents of a Research Report
  2. Plagiarism

IV. The Publication Process

  1. Before Submitting the Manuscript for Publication
  2. The Manuscript Review Process
  3. After the Manuscript is Accepted and the Article is Published


  • Appendix A: Selected APA Principles and Codes of Conduct
  • Appendix B: Ethical Guidelines for Statistical Practice
  • Appendix C: American Psychological Association Journal Article Reporting Standards
  • Appendix D: The Committee on Publication Ethics Case Taxonomy



About the Author

Author Bio

Harris Cooper is the Hugo L. Blomquist Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience at Duke University. His lab mostly conducts research syntheses and meta-analyses but also collects primary data in the area of educational policy and practice. He has taught research methods to undergraduate and graduate students for more than 40 years and has edited two handbooks on research methods and a guide to reporting research in psychology.

Dr. Cooper served as the editor of Psychological Bulletin and inaugural coeditor (with Gary VandenBos) of the Archives of Scientific Psychology, APA's open-access, collaborative data sharing, open methods journal.

After his term as Psychological Bulletin editor, he served for 6 years as the chief editorial advisor (CEA) to the APA journals program.  The CEA acts as a resource for journal editors, authors, and submitters of manuscripts when (a) disputes arise between editors and authors or between authors and other authors and/or (b) concerns are expressed about the scientific integrity of submitted manuscripts and published articles.

For 3 years, Dr. Cooper served as chair of the Department of Psychological Sciences at the University of Missouri–Columbia, and for 5 years he served as chair of the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience at Duke University.