reviewing research studies and identifying potential ethical and design issues that impacted the results, and suggesting practices that researchers could have followed to prevent such situations. analyzing and discussing three research studies, including the Stanford prison experiment, the John/Joan case, and the behavioral study of obedience, and their ethical implications.

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reviewing research studies and identifying potential ethical and design issues that impacted the results, and suggesting practices that researchers could have followed to prevent such situations. analyzing and discussing three research studies, including the Stanford prison experiment, the John/Joan case, and the behavioral study of obedience, and their ethical implications.

In this assignment, you will look at examples of research projects where the results were tainted and evaluate why things were able to go wrong.
In this assignment, you will review summaries of actual research studies. For each research study, consider potential ethical and research design issues that impacted the study and its results (for example, lack of a review board for oversight, researcher bias) and what practices researchers could have followed to prevent such a situation.
Review the summary of each research study and then describe the ethical and design issues that impacted each study. You may find the studies in this assignment to be emotionally and intellectually challenging. As a professional in a social science field, you will often be faced with such situations and need to approach them in a respectful and professional manner. For this assignment, focus on potential ethical and design issues with each study and not your personal opinions about the topic of the study.
Specifically, the following rubric criteria must be addressed:
Describe ethical and design issues in the Stanford Prison Experiment and what practices researchers could have followed to prevent a situation like this. Use references to support your recommendation(s).
Describe ethical and design issues in the John/Joan research study and what practices researchers could have followed to prevent a situation like this. Use references to support your recommendation(s).
Describe ethical and design issues in the Behavioral Study of Obedience research study and what practices researchers could have followed to prevent a situation like this. Use references to support your recommendation(s).
1. Stanford Prison Experiment
This research study sought to explain how people respond to authority roles. During this study, the researcher, Philip Zimbardo, enlisted students to play the role of either an inmate or a prison guard. This study was planned to take place for two weeks and is referred to as the “Stanford Prison Experiment.” Zimbardo’s goals were to “see what the psychological effects were of becoming a prisoner or prison guard.” In the study, Zimbardo played the role of the prison superintendent. The “guards” were given no training and made up whatever rules they deemed necessary to maintain control of their “prisoners.” The guards used humiliation tactics to control the prisoners by stripping them, delousing them, and subjecting them to repeated rounds of push-ups and “counts” where the prisoners had to call out their prisoner number, as well as solitary confinement and physical confrontations.
The prisoners eventually rebelled, but this rebellion was quickly squashed when the guards called in reinforcements and order was restored. Eventually, the guards decided to use the prisoners against each other to help maintain order, and they created a “privilege cell” where the most compliant prisoners were allowed to have additional privileges such as clothing, beds, and special food, all of which the other prisoners were allowed to watch. Then, the guards decided to randomly shift the prisoners around and placed the “good” prisoners back in with the “bad” prisoners, and some of the bad prisoners were selected to enjoy the privileges of the good cell. The purpose of this tactic was to get the prisoners to direct their aggression toward each other and away from the guards. These authoritarian tactics and the psychological abuse sustained by the prisoners had a profound effect, and the prisoners became convinced that they were not free to leave. Zimbardo himself even began to feel as though his role and the situation were real when a fellow researcher questioned what his independent variable was and his response was anger at the question, because he “had a prison break on his hands.” In the end, the experiment was called off after only six days.
References
Lurigio, A. J. (2021). Stanford prison experiment. Salem Press Encyclopedia of Health. https://ezproxy.snhu.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ers&AN=93872284&site=eds-live&scope=site
Zimbardo, P. G. (1999). Stanford prison experiment. Retrieved from https://web.archive.org/web/20000621024753/http://www.prisonexp.org/slide-27.htm
2. “John/Joan Case” Research Study
A study done by Dr. John Money conducted research on the concept that gender identity is learned. In this study, unnecessary sexual reassignment surgery was performed on a male infant who had experienced a severely botched circumcision. The psychologist, Dr. Money, told the family that gender identity is primarily learned and was a proponent of the theory of gender neutrality, which proposes that gender identity is developed as a result of social learning and could be changed. With Dr. Money’s guidance, the boy was castrated and raised with a female gender identity. A factor in this experiment was that the baby had a male twin, making it possible for Dr. Money to have a control. Eventually, after years of psychological struggle and emotional angst, the boy was informed of what had happened. The child decided to resume life with a male gender identity. He died by suicide at age 38.
References
DocumentaryStorm. (2004). Dr. Money and the boy with no penis [Video]. YouTube. https://www.documentarystorm.com/dr-money-and-the-boy-with-no-penis/
Sloop, J. M. (2000). “A van with a bar and a bed”: Ritualized gender norms in the John/Joan case.Text & Performance Quarterly,20(2), 130. https://doi-org.ezproxy.snhu.edu/10.1080/10462930009366291
3. “Behavioral Study of Obedience” Research Study
Another research study was conducted by Stanley Milgram. His study sought to understand how and why individuals are willing to obey individuals in an authoritative role. Participants and actors were recruited to participate in this experiment, with the actors playing the role of the learner and the volunteers playing the role of the teacher. The teachers thought they were participating in a study looking to examine the effect of physical punishment on learning. The teacher would tell the learner a series of paired words, and when the learner got any of the paired words incorrect, the teacher was supposed to administer an electrical shock. Neither participant could see one another, but they could hear one another.
No actual shock was delivered, but the teacher did not know this, and they would hear screams, stomping, banging, and other sounds of pain each time a “shock” was delivered. The learner would intentionally get the word pair incorrect from time to time, and each time the electrical shock was supposedly increased. The highest shock, 450 volts, would have been lethal if actually administered. The teachers would occasionally stop to question whether they should continue, and the researchers would respond with four prods to try and get them to continue. Those prods were: “Please continue,” “The experiment requires that you continue,” “It is absolutely essential that you continue,” and “You have no other choice; you must go on.” In the first round of the experiment, 65% of the teachers administered the lethal shock. Subsequent rounds produced ranges from 28% to 91%.
Reference
Milgram, S. (1963). Behavioral study of obedience. https://www.demenzemedicinagenerale.net/pdf/MilgramOriginalWork.pdf
Suggested Resources
Visit the Resources: Credibility page in the learning environment for access to resources that will support this assignment:
Contesting the “Nature” of Conformity: What Milgram and Zimbardo’s Studies Really Show
How to Get Out of the Stanford Prison Experiment: Revisiting Social Science Research Ethics
A Van With a Bar and a Bed”: Ritualized Gender Norms in the John/Joan Case
Investigating the Social World Interactive eBook, Section I: Chapter 3: Research Ethics and Research Proposals

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