By the end of this activity, you will be able to:
List and describe the basic steps for conducting scientific research,
and know and discuss the research methods that sociologists use and the
strengths and limitations of each.
Summarize the core concepts of sociology and recognize and explain the
“sociological imagination” when viewing social phenomena and your own
View the Zimbardo Stanford Prison experiment:
Stanford Prison Experiment [MP4 video 6:48 30.5 MB]
Watch Derren Brown reenactment of the Milgram experiments:
Miligram Experiments [MP4 video 10:48 38.0 MB]
As you complete this activity, think about the following:
Where do we draw the line between ethical and unethical research?
How can sociological research help us to better understand the world around us?
The Stanford Prison Experiment The Stanford prison experiment is a
fairly well-known sociology study. Please go through the experiment
slide show online at Stanford Prison Experiment. Retrieved from
httpss://www.prisonexp.org/ and answer the following questions. The slide
show provides a number of video and audio clips that you may want to
check out for additional information. Due to the nature of the
experiment, you may want to avoid listening or watching these in the
presence of small children.
After viewing the slide show, please respond to the following critical
thinking questions. Please know that each of these questions should
require at least a full paragraph response and that you are expected to
bring in details and specific references to the videos and slideshow.
Please be sure to list and number each question.
If you were the experimenter in charge, would you have done this study?
Would you have terminated it earlier? Would you have conducted a
follow-up study? Why or why not?
If you were a guard, what type of guard would you have become? How sure are you?
If you were a prisoner, would you have been able to endure the
experience? What would you have done differently than the actual
subjects did? For instance, if you were imprisoned in a real prison for
five years or more, could you take it?
How do the ethical dilemmas in this research compare with the ethical
issues raised by Stanley Milgram’s obedience experiments? Would it be
better if these studies had never been done? Was it right to trade the
suffering experienced by participants for the knowledge gained by the
Ethics are a fundamental concern of sociologists when they are
conducting research. Check out some of the policies that govern
sociological research. Go to the National Institute of Health (NIH) site
at (2012). Research Involving Human Subjects. National Institutes of
Health. Retrieved from httpss://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/hs/index.htm
to see the NIH regulations for conducting research on human subjects.
Now look at the Code of Ethics of the American Sociological Association
(ASA) at Ethics and The Code of Ethics. American Sociological
Association. Retrieved from httpss://www.asanet.org/about/ethics.cfm . How
are the NIH principles similar to those of the ASA? How are they
different? Is there anything else you would like to see added?