Review the discussion of the Milgram experiment on Obedience. How would you design a study to accomplish the same purpose while avoiding the ethical criticisms leveled at Milgram? Would your design be equally valid? Would it have the same effect?
The Milgram experiment aimed at establishing the extent to which people were willing to harm others while following orders. However, the experiment has been criticized for utilizing research methods that are not right as well as being unethical. It is possible to design a study has the potential of achieving the same goals while at the same time adhering to proper research considerations to avoid the ethical criticisms that were leveled at Milgram. One of the ways through which this could be done is through obtaining the informed consent of the research respondents. The concept of informed consent requires the researcher to enlighten the research respondents about all the aspects of a research and the possible risks and benefits associated with being involved in participating in a study (Babbie, 2015). This would ensure that any person who is not comfortable with the experiment does not participate in the research.
The experiment can also be designed in a way that the research respondents are made to understand the scenario and then asked to provide answers to indicate whether they would have be willing to follow the instructions of the experimenter at different phases of the project. For example, the different research respondents could be told the impacts of pressing the different electric switches on the wellbeing of the ‘pupil’ and the pain and agony they were likely to experience at different levels and then asked the level at which they would be willing to go while acting under orders. This would have enabled the respondents to give their views without actually having to feel like they are causing real harm to their pupils.
Suppose a researcher who is personally in favor of small families- as a response to the problem of over population- wants to conduct a survey to determine why some people want many children and others don’t. What personal involvement problems would the researcher face, and how could she or he avoid them? What ethical issues should the researcher take into account in designing the survey?
Bryman (2015) provides that personal opinion may influence a researcher wrongly if not adequately managed. Personal beliefs and opinions in research may lead to research bias where the researcher feels that his or her opinions are the accurate ones and therefore disregard data that seems to go against such beliefs (Broom, 2006). To this end, the researcher who feels that small families are may be tempted to seek data that supports the reasons why families should have few children and try to prove that families with many children are the main reason behind over population. The researcher may also have a fixed mentality about large families. For instance, she or he may believe that large families contribute to poverty levels through straining the limited resources in the earth by over populating the world and hence may be tempted to view them negatively in the course of the research process.
Marshall & Rossman (2014) provides that research bias can be avoided through sticking to the objectives of the research and following the standard research procedures. In other words, such a researcher can avoid the problem of personal bias by disregarding his or her opinion on the issue under investigation and sticking to the objective of the research. Some of the ethical issues that the researcher must take into consideration is seeking informed consent from the research respondents and ensuring that s/he does not interfere with the research results to reflect his or her personal views. Broom (2006) argues that interfering with the research results because of a personal belief or view is ethically wrong.
Do a web search for “informed consent” and then narrow your search to “research,” Skim the resulting websites and begin to identify groups of people of whom informed consent may be problematic- people who may not be able to give it. Suggest some ways in which the problem might be overcome
Informed consent is an essential aspect of research as it ensures it ensures that the research respondents understand the impacts of being involved in a research process (Marshall & Rossman, 2014). However, research has shown that the concept of informed consent is not always easy and sometimes presents challenges to the research process Schmidt & Hunter (2014). Bryman (2015) provides that in some cases, research consent may hinder a successful research process especially in cases where research respondents may not be willing to give their consent in regard to participating in a study. For example, in case a researcher want to establish the number of people involved in corruption deals in the civil service, corrupt civil servants may fail to consent to the research for fear of revealing such information to anyone.
There are various ways through which this problem can be overcome. For instance, in case the research is seeking sensitive information such as the number of civil servants who engage in corrupt practices, the researcher may adopt research designs that reassure the research respondents that they will not be implicated for offering the required information. For example, using questionnaires to collect data and encouraging the research respondents to remain anonymous. When working with vulnerable groups, it may be essential to work with people with specialized skills in dealing with the specific groups in question to ensure that they are informed about the impacts of being involved in a research process.
Babbie, E. R. (2015). The Practice of Social Research. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning US.
Broom, A. (2006). Ethical issues in social research. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 14(2), 151-156.
Bryman, A. (2015). Social research methods. Oxford university press.
Marshall, C., & Rossman, G. B. (2014). Designing qualitative research. Sage publications.
Schmidt, F. L., & Hunter, J. E. (2014). Methods of meta-analysis: Correcting error and bias in research findings. Sage publications.