APA Research Standards

Research Standards for APA Publications

Approved by the Board of Directors of the American Polygraph Association on March 11, 2011

Whereas all tests are scientific tests, and whereas the instrumental detection of deception and related test methods depend on the integrity of the underlying scientific constructs and normative data, and whereas the effectiveness of individual examinations and individual polygraph programs depends on an evidence-based scientific approach to credibility assessment and the instrumental detection of deception, and whereas the advancement the science of credibility assessment, the instrumental detection of deception, the polygraph profession, and the APA, requires the ability to carefully evaluate the integrity and accuracy of research and scientific knowledge, and whereas the effectiveness of the polygraph profession and the APA affect the safety and well being of our communities, agencies and countries, and whereas the endorsement or acceptance of inaccurate or falsified scientific evidence may cause lasting damage to the effectiveness of the polygraph profession and the APA, and could cause harm to our communities, agencies, and nation, the following Research Standards for APA publications are enacted:

  1. All researchers shall honor the human dignity and rights of study participants and shall document their methods for obtaining informed consent and protection from harm to study participants that may occur as a result of participation in research activities,
  2. Researchers shall obtain informed consent from all subjects and participants,
  3. Researchers shall refrain from using experimental testing methods with human subjects in evidentiary, investigation and field screening programs unless the examinee provides documentation of informed consent to the use of an experimental method. Experimental methods shall be all methods without published evidence of validity that meets the APA requirements for criterion accuracy,
  4. Researchers shall refrain from plagiarism, and shall accurately cite material that are attributed to previous authors and other publications,
  5. Publications shall accurately identify all contributors and the nature of their contribution. Researchers shall refrain including non-contributing authors on publication by-lines. Researchers shall refrain from publishing scientific information from un-named contributors, except where personal or national security interest may prevent the identification of an author, in which case an author may be identified anonymously,
  6. Principle investigators shall refrain from contributing data as a study participant,
  7. Researchers and principle investigators shall accurately identify all proprietary and financial interests, funding sources, and potential conflicts of interest that might compromise the objectivity of the study results,
  8. Researchers and principle investigators shall accurately identify all hypothetical formulations and thought experiments that are not evidence-based conclusions,
  9. Principle investigators shall accurately identify the type and method of study design, whether survey, program evaluation experimental, quasi-experimental, case studies, meta-analysis, literature surveys, etc.,
  10. Principle investigators shall provide sufficient statistical information in publication to permit a competent analysis of the study, including: sample size, demographic information, statistical errors of measure for survey data, calculations of statistical significance that describe the probability of a type 1 error for experimental and quasi-experimental results, along with statistical power analysis or statistical confidence intervals that permit evaluation of the likelihood or probability of a type-2 error,
  11. Researchers shall make data available for addition review and extended analysis,
  12. Descriptions of criterion accuracy levels shall minimally include calculations of test sensitivity, test specificity, and inclusive rates for all criterion categories, along with calculations and statistical errors of measure for Fliess' Kappa statistics regarding interrater reliability,
  13. Researchers and principle investigators shall identify study limitations, including sampling limitations, confounds, and threats to both internal and external validity for all study results,
  14. Researchers and principle investigators shall identify needs for further research pertaining to all study results,
  15. Researchers and principle investigators shall clearly indicate scientific evidence or conclusions that are published without peer-review, and
  16. Researchers and principle investigators shall refrain from any falsification of study results or alteration of data to achieve a study result.