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The focus of our final week is a topic that is of critical importance to the Criminal Justice world — ETHICS. We have two easy tasks to complete this week — the discussion board and a quiz for understanding. Be sure that you complete both. For the discussion – using your topic of interest chosen in week 1, identify an ethical issue that is relevant to that research problem. Consider how you would address this ethical issue using ethical standards from the Code of Ethics of the Academy of Criminal Justice Services (ACJS).

Discussion: Ethical Issues in Criminal Justice Research

Until the end of the 1970s, the research process was largely unregulated. This lack of regulation allowed some scientists to either fail to consider or ignore the ethical implications of their research and to carry out horrendous experiments. For example, the U.S. Public Health Service funded a study known as the Tuskegee Experiment, which started in the 1920s and continued well into the 1970s. This study was designed to examine the progression of syphilis in poor, urban African American males. None of the subjects were told they had syphilis, and some were treated with placebos even though a cure for this disease was available. Since that time, however, significant safeguards have been put in place to prevent these types of ethical violations. Today, Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) are responsible for evaluating ethical issues that might surface, especially those concerned with the protection of human subjects prior to the commencement of a research project. Multiple safeguards ensure that many of the ethical violations that might have occurred in the past are now prevented.

To prepare:

Recall the research problem you chose in Week 1

Identify one ethical issue that is relevant to that research problem.

Consider how you would address this ethical issue using ethical standards from the Code of Ethics of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS).

Post a brief description of an ethical issue in criminal justice research generally or related to the research problem you identified in Week 1. Then explain how you might address it using ethical standards from the ACJS Code of Ethics.

I wanted to let you know how useful my research methods class has already proved to be. For my internship this summer, eueryone had to get the CITI (Collaboratru e Institutional Training Initiativ e) training certificatron to conduct our research, which took a few days out of the actual projects. However,because I was already IRB finstitutional Review Boardl certified from my class, I was able to start my project sooner. My superutsor was really appreciatiue thatl didn’thave to use my time to complete the IRB trainrng. Additionally, I utill be utilizing my knousledge about suruey methods this summer for my research.

ltzlarissa O. , Student

I et’s begin with a thought experiment (or a trip down memory lane, dependirs l-on your earlier exposure to this example). One d^y as you are drinkirg coffee and reading the newspaper during your summer in California, you notice a small ad recruiting college students for a study at Stanford University. Feeling a bit bored with your part-time job waiting on tables and missing the campus environ- ment you got used to in your previous year as a freshman, you go to the campus and complete an application.

per day for l-2 weeks beginning Aug. 14. For further information & applications, come to Room24S,Jordan Hall, Stanford U. (Zimbardo, Banks, Haney, and Iaffe 1973, 3 8)

After you arrive at the universiry you are given an information form with more details about the research (“Prison Life Study”).

Intrigued, you decide to continue. First, you are asked to complete a long questionnaire about your family background, physical and mental health history and prior criminal involvement; answer a researcher’s questions in person; and sign a consent form. A few days lateg you are informed that you and 20 other young men have been selected to participate in the experiment. You then return to the university to complete a battery of psychological tests and are told you will be picked up for the study the next day ftIaney, Banks, and Zimbardo L973).

The next morning, Iou hear a siren just before a squad car stops in front of your house. A police officer charges you with assault and battery warns you ofyour constitutional rights, searches and handcuffs you, and drives you off to the police station. After fingerprinting and a short stay in a detention cell: /ou are blind- folded and driven to the “Stanford County Prison.” Upon arrlal, you are stripped

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naked, skin-searched, deloused, and issued a uniform (a loosely fitting smock \^rith an ID number printed on it), bedding, sozp, and a towel. You dont recognlze anyone, but you notice that the other “prisoners” and th. “goards” are college-age, apparendy middle-class white men (and one fuian) like you ftIaney et al. 1973; Zimbardo et al. 1973).

The prison warden welcomes you:

As you probably know; I’m your warden. All ofyou have shown that you are unable to function outside in the real world for one reason or another-that somehow you lack the responsibility of good citizens of this great country. We of this prison, your correctional staff, are going to help you learn what your responsibilities as citizens of this country are. . . . Ifyou follow all ofthese rules and keep your hands clean, repent for your misdeeds and show a proper attitude ofpenitence, you and I will get along just fine. (Zimbar do et al. 197 3, 3 8)

Among other behavioral restrictions, the rules stipulate that prisoners must remain silent during rest periods, during meals, and after lights out; that they must address each other only

General Information

Purpose: A simulated prison witl be established somewhere in the vicinity of Palo Alto, California, to study a number of problems of psychological and sociological relevance.

Paid volunteers will be randomly assigned to play the roles of either prisoners or guards for the duration of the sturCy.This time period will vary some- what from about five days to two weeks for any one volunteer-depending upon several factors, such as the “sentence” for the prisoner or the work effectiveness of the guards.

Payment will be $gO a day for performing vari- ous activities and work associated with the opera- tion of our prison.

Each volunteer must enter a contractual arrangement with the principal investigator (Dr. P. G. Zimbardo), agreeing to participate for the full dura- tion of the study. It is obviously essential that no prisoner can leave once jailed, except through estab- lished procedures. In addition, guards must report for their eight-hour work shifts promptly and regularly since surveillance by the guards will be around-the- clock-three work shifts will be rotated or guards will be assigned a regular shift-day, evening, or early morning. Failure to fulfitl this contract will result in a partial loss of salary accumulated-according to a

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by their assigned ID numbers; that they must address guards as “Mr. Correctional Officer”l and that they may be punished for any infractions (Zimbardo et al. 1973).

You can tell that you are in the basement of a building. You are led down a corridor to a small cell (6′ x9′) with three cots, where you are locked behind a steel-barred black door with two other prisoners @xhibit 3.1). There is a small solitary confinement room across the hall for those who misbehave. There is litde privary, since you realize that the uniformed grrards, behind their silver sunglasses, can always observe the prisoners. After you go to sleep, you are awakened by a whisde summoning you and the others foi a roll call.

The next morning, you and the other eight prisoners must stand in line outside your cells and recite the rules until you remember all 17 of them. Prisoners must chant, “It’s a wonderful day, Mr. Correctional OfEcer.” Two prisoners who get out of line are put in solitary confine- ment. After a bit, the prisoners in Cell 1 decide to resist: They barricade their cell door and call on the prisoners in other cells to join in their resistance. As punishment, the guards pull the beds out from the other cells and spray some inmates with a fire extinguisher.

The guards succeed in enforcing control and become more authoritarian, while the prisoners become increasingly docile. Punishmens are meted out for infractions of rules and sometimes for seemingly no reason at all; punishments include doing push-ups, being stripped naked, having legs chained, and being repeatedly wakened during the night. Would you join in the resistance? How would you react to this deprivation of your liberty by these authoritarian guards?

. By the fifth day of the actual Stanford Prison Experiment, five student prisoners had to be released due to evident extreme stress (Zimbardo 2007). On the sixth day, Philip Zimbardo terminated the experiment. A prisoner subsequendy reported,

The way we were made to degrade ourselves really brought us down and that’s whywe all sat docile towards the end of the experi- ment. (Haney et al. 1973, 88)

One guard later recounted his experience:

I was surprised at myself . . . I made them call each other names and clean the toilets out with their bare hands. I practically considered the prisoners cattle, and I kept thinking’ “I have to watch out for them in case they try something.” (Zimbardo et al. L973, 17 4)

Exhibit 3.2 gives some idea of the difference in how the prison- ers and guards behaved. What is most striking about this result is that all the guards and prisoners had been screened before the study began to ensure that they were physically and mentally healthy. The roles of guard and prisoner had been assigned randomly, by the toss of a coin, so the two groups were very similar when the study began. It seemed to be the situation that led to the deterioration of the mental state of the prisoners and the different behavior of the guards. Being a guard or a prisoner, with rules and physical arrangements reinforcing distinctive roles, changed their behavior.

Are you surprised by the outcome of the experiment? By the guard’s report of his unexpected, abusive behavior? By the prisoners’ ultimate submissiveness and the considerable psychic distress some felt? (\ /e leave it to you to assess how you would have responded if you had been an acfual research participant.)

Of course, our purpose in introducing this small experiment is not to focus attention on the prediction of behavior in pris- ons; instead, we want to introduce the topic of research ethics by

Source: From The Luctfer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Euil by Philip G. Zimbardo. Copyright @ 2007 by Philip G. Zirnbardo, Inc. Used by permission.


Exhibit 3.1 Prisoner in His Gell



Deindividuating Reference





Use of lnstruments

Individuating Reference



encouraging you to think about research from the standpoint of the people who are the subjects of research. We will refer to Philip Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment throughout this chapter, since it is fair to say that this research ultimately had a profound influence on the way that social scientists think about research ethics as well as on the way that criminologists understand behavior in prisons. We will also refer to Stan- l”y Milgram’s (1963) experiments on obedience to authority, since that research also pertains to criminal justice issues and has stimulated much debate about research ethics.

Every criminal justice researcher needs to consider how to practice his or her discipline ethically. Whenever we interact with other people as social scien- tists, we must give paramount importance to the rational concerns and emotional needs that shape their responses to our actions. It is here that ethical research practice begins, with the recognition that our research procedures involve people who deserve as much respect for their well-being as we do for ours.


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Source: From The Lucifer E1fect: tJnderstanding How Good people Tttm Euilby philip c. Concern with ethical practice in relation to [email protected],Inc.UsedbypermissionofRandom people who are (in some respect) depen- House, an imprint and division ofPenguin Random House LLC, and the Random deng whether as patients or research sub- House Group Ltd’ AII rights reserved’

jects, is not a new idea. Ethical guidelines for medicine trace back to Hippocrates in 5 BC Greece (Ilippocratic Oath, n.d.), and the American Medical Association (AMA) adopted the world’s first formal professional ethics code in medicine lt l8+7 (AMA 201 1). Yet the history of medical practice makes it clear that having an ethics code is not sufficient to ensure ethical practice, at least when there are clear incentives to do otherwise.

‘ The formal procedures for the protection of participants in research we have today grew Philip Zimbardo,s Stanford out of some widely publicized abuses. One defining event occrured in 1946, when the Nurem- Prison Experiment berg War Crime Tiials exposed horrific medical experiments conducted by Nazi doctors and A two’week experimenl others in the name of science. Almost 20 years later, Milgram’s research on obedience also thal $imulaied thva pri$0n generated controversy about participant protections 6eerry zotf ). fu late ts lgT2,Americans life of bolh priso*ers and guards thai was ended iil learned from news reports that researchers funded by the u.S. Public Health Service had fol- sixdavsbecauseaf wllat lowed 399 low-income A.frican American men since the 1930s, collecting data to study the the sinrulation was d*ing natural course of syphilis @xhibit 3.3). At the time the study began, there was no effective treat- to coliege studsnts !.lho ment for the disease, but the men were told they were being treated for “bad blood,” whether participated. they had syphilis or not. Participants received free medical exams, meals, and burial insurance


ExhibitS.2 Chart of Guard and Prisoner Behavior

10 20 30

Source: Thskegee Syphilis Study Administrative Records. Records of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Archives-Southeast Region (Atlanta).

but were not asked for their consent to be studied. What made this research study, known as the Tirskegee Syphilis Experimeng so shocking was that many participants were not informed of their illness and, even after penicillin was recogn ized as an ef[ective treaffnent in 1945 and in large-scale weby 1947, the study participants were not treated. The research vras ended only after the study was erposed. In L973, congressional hearings began, and n L97+, an out-of- court setdement of $10 million was reached; it was not until 1997 that President Bill Clinton made an ofEcial apology (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2009).

Of course, the United States is not the only country to have abused human subjects. For example, British military scientists exposed hundreds of Indian soldiers serr.ing under the command of the British military to mustard gas during World War II to determine the how much gas was needed to produce death (Evans 2007).

These and other widely publicized abuses made it clear that formal review procedures were needed to protect research participants. The IJ.S. government created a National Com- mission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research and charged it with developing guidelines (I(itchener and Kitchener 2009). The commission’s 1979 BehnontReport(from the U.S. Departrnent of Health, Education, andWelfare) estab- lished three basic ethical principles for the protection of human subjects @xhibit 3.4):

o Respect for persons: treating persons as autonomous agents and protecting those with diminished autonomy

. Beneficence: rninimizingpossible harms and maximizingbenefits o Justice: distributing benefits and risks of research fairly

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Respect for Persons

The Department of Health and Fluman Services (DHHS) and the Food and Drug Administration then translated these principles into specific regulations that were adopted in l99L as the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects also known as the Common Rule (Title 45 of Code of Federal Regulations [CFR], Part 46). This policy has shaped the course of social science research ever since by requiring organizations that sponsor feder ally funded research-including universities- to establish committees that review all research proposed at the institution and ensure compliance with the federal human subjects requirements when the research is conducted. This policy has shaped the course of social science research ever since, and you will have to take it into account as you design your own research investigations. Professional associations such as the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS), university review boards, and ethics committees in other organizations also set standards for the treatment of human subjects by their members, employees, and

students, although these standards are all designed to comply with the federal poliry. This section introduces these regulations.

After 25 years, the Common Rule was revised, with modifications that were supposed to be implemented in January of 2018 but were delayed at the last minute, and the effective date was moved toJuly 19,2018 (Allen 2018). The revisions relaxed some requirements for social science research and made several other important changes that are consequential for both medical and social science researchers. These regulations, as revised, inform the discussion that follows (Chadwick 2017).

TheACJS and theAmerican Society of Criminology (ASC), like most professional social science organizations, have adopted ethical guidelines for practicing criminologists that are more specific than the federal regulations. The ACJS Code of Ethics also establishes proce- dures for investigating and resolving complaints concerning the ethical conduct of the orga- nization’s members. The code of ethics of the ACJS (2000) is available on the ACJS website (rttp://www.acjs.org). The ASC follows the American Sociological Association’s (ASA 1999) code of ethics, which is summarized on the ASA website (trttp://www.asanet.orglabout/ethics .”&”).


Achieving Valid Results

Achievingvalid results is the necessary starting point for ethical research practice. Simply put, we have no business asking people to answer questions, submit to observations, or participate in experimenal procedures if we are simply seeking to veri$z our preexisting prejudices or convince others to take action bn behalf of our personal interests. It is the pursuit of objec- tive knowledge about human behavior-the goal of validity-that motivates and justifies our investigations and gives us some claim to the right to influence others to participate in our research. Knowledge is the foundation of human progress as well as the basis for our expecta- tion that we, as social scientists, can help people achieve a brighter future. Ifwe approach our research projecs objectively, setting aside our personal predilections in the service oflearn- ing a bit more about human behavior, we can honesdy represent our actions as potentially contributing to the advancement of knowledge.

Justice (in research);

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ExhibitS.4 Belmont Report Principles

The details inZimbardo’s articles and his book (2007) on the prison experiment make a compelling case for his commitrnent to achieving valid results-to learning how and why a prison-like situation influences behavior. In Zimbardo’s (2009) own words,

Social-psychological studies were showingthathumannaturewas more pliable than pre- viouslyimagined and more responsive to situational pressures thanwe cared to adorowl- edge. . . . Missing from the body of social-science research at the time was the direct confrontation . . . ofgood people pitted against the forces inherent in bad situations. . . . I decided that what was needed was to create a situation in a controlled experimental set- ting in which we could array on one side a host ofvariables, such as . . . coercive rules, power differentials, [and] anonymity. . . . On the other side, we lined up a collection of the

“best and brightest” ofyoung college men. . . . I wanted to know who wins-good people or an evil situation-when they were brought into direct confronation.

Zimbardo (Ilaney et al. 1973) devised his experiment so the situation would seem realistic to the participants and still allow carefirl measurement of imporantvariables and observation of behavior at all times. Questionnaires and rating scales, interviews with participants as the research proceeded and after it was over, ongoing video and audio recording, and logs main- tained by the guards all ensured that very litde would escape the researcher’s ga.ze.

Zimbardo’s (Ilaney et al. L973) attention to validity is also apparent in his design of the physical conditions and organizati_onal procedures for the experiment. The “prison” was


constructed in a basement without any windows so that participants would not have a sense of where they were. Their isolation was reinforced by the practice of placing paper bags over their heads when they went with a guard to use the bathroom, which was in a corridor apart from the prison area. Meals were bland, and conditions were generally demeaning. This was a very different situation for the participans; it was no college dorm experience.

However, not all social scientists agree that Zimbardo’s approach achieved valid results. British psychologisc Reicher and Haslam (2006) argue that guard behavior was not so con- sistent and that it was determined by the instructions Zimbardo gave the guards at the start of the experiment rather than by becoming a guard in itself. For example, in another experiment, when guards were trained to respect prisoners, their behavior was less extreme (Lovibond, Mithiran, and Adams I 979).

In response to such criticism, Zimbardo (2007) has pointed to several replications of his basic experiment that support his conclusions-as well as to the evidence of pafterns of abuse in the real world of prisons, including the behavior of guards who tormented prisoners atAbu Ghraib.

Do you agree with Zimbardo’s assumption that the effects of being a prisoner or guard could fi:uitfully be studied in a mock prison with pretend prisoners? Do you find merit in the criticisms? Will your evaluation of the ethics of Zimbardo’s experiment be influenced by your answers to these questions? Should our ethical judgments differ when we are confident a study’s results provide valid information about imporant social processes?

We cant answer these questions for you, but before you dismiss them as inappropriate when we are dealing with ethical standards for the treatment of human subjects, bear in mind that both Zimbardo and his critics buttress their ethical arguments with assertions about the validity (or invalidiry) of the experimental results. It is hard to justify any risk for human sub- jects,or any expenditure of time and resources, if our findings tell us nothing about the reality of crime and punishment.

Honesty and Openness The scientific concern with validity requires in turn that scientists be open in disclosing their methods and honest in presenting their findings. In contrast, research distorted by political or personal pressures to find particular outcomes or to achieve the most marketable results is unlikely to be carried out in an honest and open fashion. To assess the validity of a researcher’s conclusions and the ethics of his or her procedures, you need to know exacdy how the research was conducted. This means that articles or other reports must include a detailed methodology section, perhaps supplemented by appendices containing the research instruments or websites or an address where more information can be obtained.

Philip Zimbardo’s research reports seemed to present an honest and open account of his methods. His initial article (Ilaney et al. 1973) included a detailed description of study procedures, including the physical aspects of the prison, the instructions to participanrc, the uniforms used, the induction procedure, and the specific data collection methods and mea- sures. Many more details, including forms and pictures, are available on Zimbardo’s website (htrp://www.prisonexperiment.org) and in his recent book (Zimbardo 2007).

The act of publication itself is a vital element in maintaining openness and honesty. Otlers can review and question study procedures and so generate an open dialogue with the researcher. Although Zimbardo disagreed sharply with his critics about many aspects of his experiment, their mutual commitrnent to public discourse in widely available publications resulted in a more comprehensive presentation of study procedures and a more thought- frrl discourse about research ethics (Savin 1973; Zimbardo 1973). Almost 40 years later, this commentary continues to inform debates about research ethics (Reicher and Haslam 2006; Ztmbardo2007).


Openness about research procedures and results goes hand in hand with honesty in research design. Openness is also essential if researchers are to learn from the work of others. In spite of this need for openness, some researchers may hesitate to disclose their procedures or results to prevent others from building on their ideas and aking some of the credit. You might have heard of the long legal batde between a U.S. researcher, Dr. Robert Gallo, and a French researcher, Dr. Luc Montagnier, about how credit for discovering the AIDS virus should be allocated. Althoqgh a public dispute such as this one is unusual–even more unusual than its resolution through an agreement announced by then-president Ronald Reagan and then-prime minister

Jacques Chirac (Altrnan l987F-concerns with priority of discovery are common. Scientists are similar to other people in their desire to be first. Enforcing standards of honesty and encouraging openness about research are the best solutions to these problems (as exemplified by the chronology of discovery that Gallo and Montagnier joindy developed as part of the agreement).

Protecting Research Participants TheACJS code’s standards concerning the treatrnent of human subjects include federal regu- lations and ethical guidelines emphasized by most professional social science organizations:

. Research should expose participants to no more than minimal risk of personal harm. (#16)

. Researchers should firlly disclose the purposes oftheirresearch. (#13)


Kristen Kenny, Research Gompliance Specialist

Kristen Kenny ,colT)€s from a long line of rnusi- , cians.and artists and rMos

lhq first in her family to gradr;ate,,, from

,, college,

Kenny,majored in film- making and pe’rform,ance

art at the,Massachusetts

films and in theater, doing everyth.ing from,set design,

hair, and makeup to’costume design and acting. The

arts have their fair share of inte,qgsting:Characters;’this

entertainment fleld, Kenny f’ound herself working,

as a receptionist in the music industry-a hotbed of

difficult personalitiesi gontr?cts, and negotiations. Within a )rear,’Kenny had been promoted to assistant

talent buyer fo,r smal} clubs and festivals in the Boston

College of Art and soon started working on small

,,,pers’ona,liti,gs askedher to apply f,or ajob as their IRB

administrator. Kenny had no idea what an IRB. wos,

area. This job helped Kennlz dwelop the skill of read-

ing denqe contract docurnents and being able to iden-

, tifv,what contractual clatrse language,stays and what , ‘is deleted; Eventually the music industry started to ‘ rMaReqnd K’enny wos’loid’off, but a friend at a local

hospital who was in dire need of someone who could

,.’in,te.rpret’volume.s of documents and deal with bold

but she attended trainings and conferences to learn

the,IRB,trade. Thr.ee:yeors later, Kenny was as-ked to

join’rthe-: Office of Research and Sponsored Programs

, at,fte,University ofrMassaqhusetts, Boston, as the IRB l

Now, as a rese&rch compliance specialist II, Kenny ma ntains the IRB and other regulatory units

and has developed a training curriculum and program

for,the Office of Research and ,sponsored Programs.

And if yqu look hard enough you can find her clothing

and fabric designs on eBay, Etsy, and her own website.


lr_ tz,

Source: Kristen Kenny

Participation in research should be voluntary, and therefore subjects must give their informed consent to participate in the research. (#16)

Confidentiality must be maintained for individual research participants unless it is voluntarily and explicidy waived. (#1 4, #I8, #19)

Philip Zimbardo (2007) himself decided thathis Sanford Prison Experimentwas unethi- cal because it violated the first two ofthese principles. Participants “did suffer considerable anguish. . . and [the experiment] resulted in such extreme stress and emotional turmoil that five of the sample of initially healthy young prisoners had to be released early” (233-34).The researchers did not disclose in advance the nature ofthe arrest or booking procedures at police headquarters, nor did they disclose to parents how bad the situation had become when the par- ents came to a visiting night. Nonetheless, Zimbard o Q007 ; Zinbardo et al. 197 3) argued that there was no long-lasting harm to participans and that there were some long-term social ben- efits from this research. In particular, debriefing participants-discussing their experiences and revealing the logic behind the experiment–and follow-up interviews enabled the parti”ipans to recover from the experience without lasting harm. Also, the experience led several partici- pants in the experiment, including Zimbardo, to dedicate their careers to investigating and improving prison conditions. As a result, publicity about the experiment has also helped focus attention on problems in prison management.

Do you agree with Zimberdob conclusion that his experiment was not ethical? Do you think it should have been prevented from being conducted in the first place? Are you relieved to learn that current standards in the United Sates for the protection of human subjecs in research would not allow his experiment to be conducted?

In contrast to Zimbardo,Milgram (1963) believed that his experiments on obedience to authority were ethical, so debate about this has been long-lasting. flis experiments on obedi- ence to authority raise most of the relevant issues we want to highlight here.

Milgram had recruited community members to participate in his experiment atYale Uni- versity. Ffis research was stimulated by the success of Germany’s Nazi regime of the 1930s and 1940s in enlisting the participation ofordinary citizens in unconscionable acts ofrerror and genocide. Milgram set out to identify through laboratory experiments the conditions under which ordinary citizens will be obedient to authority figures’ instructions to inflict pain on others. He operationalized this obedience by asking subjects to deliver electric shocls (fake, of course) to “students” supposedly learning a memory taslg the studens were actually members of the research team who had been trained to play specific roles. The experimental procedure had four simple steps: (1) The research subject read a series ofword pairs aloud to the student, pairs such as blue box, nice d.ay, wild duck, and so on. (2) The subject then read aloud one of the first words from those pairs, along with a set of four words, one of which was the original second word paired with the first. For example, blue: [email protected] ink, box, lamp mightbe read. (3) The “student” was directed to state the word thai he thought was paired with th” firrt word the research subject had read (blue)- If he gave a correct response, he was complimented and the game continued. If he made a mistake, a switch was flipped on the console. The research subject assumed that this caused the student to feel a shock on his wrist. (4) After each mistake, the next switch was flipped on a console, progressing from left to right. There was a label corresponding to every fifth switch on the console, with the first mark labeled slight sboch, the fifth mark labeled modcrate sbock, the tenth strong sbock, and so on through .rery sfflng shock, intmse shock, extreme intensity shock, and ilanger: seoere shock. Subjects were told to increase the shocls over time, and many did so, even after the supposed “students,”‘ behind a partition, began to cry out in (simulated) pain @xhibit 3.5). The paiticipants became very tense, and some resisted as the shocls increased to the (supposedly) lethal range, but many still complied with the authority in that situation and increased the shocks. Similar to Zimbardo,Milgram debriefed participants afterward and followed up later to check on their well-being. It seemed that none had suffered long-term harm.


fu we discuss how the ACJS code of ethics standards apply to Milgram’s experi- ments, you will begin to reali ze that there is no simple ans\Mer to the question “What is (or isn’t) ethical research practice?” The issues are too complicated and the relevant prin- ciples too subject to different interpretations. But we do promise that by the time you finish this chapteq you will be aware of the major issues in research ethics and be able to make informed, defensible decisions about the ethi- cal conduct of social science research.

Avoid Harming Research Participants

Although this standard may seem straight- forward, it can be difficult to interpret in specific cases and harder yet to define in a way that is agreeable to all social scientists. Does it mean that subjects should not at all be harmed psychologically or physically? That theyshould feel no anxiety or distress whatsoever during the study or even after their involve- ment ends? Should the possibility of any harm, no matter how remote, deter research?

Before we address these questions with respect to Milgram’s experiments, consider this verbatim transcript of one Milgram’s sessions, which will give you an idea of what participants experienced (Milgram 1965):

150 aohs deliaered.

16t aolts deliaered.

180 aolts deliuered.

195 aohs deliaered.

You want me to keep going?

That guy is hollering in there. There’s a lot of them here. He’s liable to have a heart condition. You want me to go on?

FIe cant stand it! I’m not going to kill that man in there! You hear him hollering? He’s hollering. He can)t stand it. . . . I mean who is going to take responsibility if anything happens to that gentleman?

[The experimenter accepts responsibility.] Nl right.

You see he’s hollering. FIear that. Gee, I don’t know. [The experimenter says: “The experiment requires that you go on.”] I know it does, sir, but I mean-Hugh-he dont know what he’s in for. He’s up to 195 volts.

210 aolx deliaered.

225 aolts deliaered.

240 aobs deliaered. (67)

This experimental manipulation.generated o’extraordinary tension” (Milgram 1963):

Subjects were observed to sweat, tremble, stutter, bite their lips, groan and dig their fingernails into their flesh. . . . Full-blown, uncontrollable seizures were observed for 3 subjects. One . . . seizure [was] so violendy convulsive that it was necessary to call a halt to the experiment fior that individual]. (375)


Exhibit 3.5 Diagram of Milgram Experiment

An observer (behind a one-waymirror) reported, “I observed a mature and initiallypoised businessman enter the laboratory smiling and confident. Within 20 minutes he was reduced to a turitching snrttering wreck, who was rapidly approaching a point of nervous collapse” (Milgram t963,377).

Psychologist Diana Baumrind (1964) disagreed sharply with Milgram’s approach, con- cluding that the emotional disturbance subjects experienced was “potentially harmful because it could easily affect an alteration in the subject’s self-image or ability to trust adult authori- ties in the future” (422). Statley Milgram (1964) quickly countered, “As the experiment progressed there was no indication of injurious effects in the subjects; and as the subjects themselves strongly endorsed the experiment, the judgment I made was to continue the experiment” (849).

When Milgram (1964) surveyed the subjecs in a follow-up study, 83.7o/o endorsed tlle statement that they were”very glad” or “glad” “to have been in the experiment” 15.lo/o were “neither sorq/ nor glad,” and t.3o/o wete “sorry” orttvery sorqr” to have participated (849). Interviews by a psychiatrist a year later found no evidence “of any traumatic reactions” (1 97). Subsequendy, Milgram (1974) aryed that “the central moral justification for allowing my experiment is that it was judged acceptable by those who took part in it” (21).

Milgram (1964) also attempted to minimize harm to subjecs with postexperimental pro- cedures “to assure that the subject would leave the laboratory in a state ofwell-being” (37+). A friendly reconciliation was arranged between the subject and the victim, and an effort was made to reduce any tensions that arose as a result of the experiment.

In some cases, the dehoaxing (or debriefing) discussion was extensive, and all subjects were promised (and later received) a comprehensive report (Milgram 1964).

In a later article, Baumrind (1985) dismissed the value of the self-reported “lack of harm” of subjects vrho had been willing to participate in the experiment-and noted that 16″/” &d zr, endorse the statement that they were”glad” they had participated in the experiment (168). Baumrind also argued that research indicates that most studenb who have participated in a deception orperiment report a decreased trust in authorities as a resrlt-a tangible harm in iself.

Many social scientists, ethicists, and others concluded that Milgram’s procedures had not harmed the subjects and so were justified for the knowledge they produced, but others sided with Baumrind’s criticisms (Miller 1986). What is your opinion at this point? Does Milgram’s debriefing process relieve your concerns? Are you as persuaded by the subjecs’ own endorse- ment of the procedures as was Milgram?

Would you ban such experiments because of the potential for harm to subjects? Does the fact that Zimbardo’s and Milgram’s erperiments seemed to yield significant insights into the effect of a social situation on human behavior-insights that could be used to improve prisons or perhaps lessen the likelihood of another holocaust-make any difference @qmolds 1979)? Do you believe that this benefit outweighs the foreseeable risls?

Obtain lnformed Consent

The requirement of informed consent is also more difficult to define than it first appears. To be informed, consent must be given by the persons who are competent to consent, have consented voluntarily, are fully informed about the research, and have comprehended what they have been told (Reynolds 1979).Yet well-intentioned researchers may not foresee all the potential problems and so may not point them out in advance to potential participans (Baumrind 1985). Milgram (1974) reported that he and his colleagues were surprised by the zubjecs’willingness.to carry out such severe shocls. In Zimbardo’s prison simulation study, all the participants signed consent forms, but they were not frrlly informed in advance about potential risks. The researchers themselves did not realize that the study participans would experience so much stress so quickly, that some prisoners would have to be released for severe negative reactions within the first few days, or that even those who were not severely stressed would soon be begging to be released from the mock prison. But on the other hand, are you


concerned that real harm “could result from not daingresearch on destructive obedience” and other troubling human behavior (Miller 1986, 138)?

Obtaining informed consent creates additional challenges for researchers. The research- er’s actions and body language should help convey his verbal assurance that consent is vol- untary. The language of the consent form must be clear and understandable to the research participants yet sufficiendy long and detailed to explain what will actually happen in the research. Examples A @xhibit 3.6) and B @xhibit 3.7) illustrate two different approaches to these trade-offs.

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Ypu should nnder’stand that.a Privary Certificate does not prever-It.you or a member ofyour famiiy from voluntarily releasing information about yourself or your involvement in this research. Ifyou give anyone written consent to receive research information, then we may not use the Certificate to withhold that information.

The Privary Certificate does not prevent research staff from voluntary disclosures to authorities ifwe learn that you intend to harm yourself or someone else. These incidents would be reported as required by state and federal Iaw. However, we will not ask you questions about these areas.

Because this research is paid for by the National Institute ofJustice, staffof this research office may review copies ofyour records, but they also are required to keep that information confidential.

RIGI{TTO QUITTHE STUDY: Participation in this research project is voluntary and you have the right to leave the study at any time. The researchers and their assistants have the right to remove you from this study ifneeded.



Exhibit 3.6 Gonsent Form A

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Consent form A was approved by the University of Delaware IRB for in-depth inter- views with former inmates about their experiences after release from prison.

Consent form B is the one used by Philip Zimbardo.It is brief and to the point, leaving out many of the details that current standards for the protection of human subjects require. Zimbardo’s consent form also released the researchers from any liability for problems arising out of the research. (Such a statement is no longer allowed.)

fu in Milgramt (1963) study, experimental researchers whose research design requires some q?e of subject deception try to minimize disclosure of experimental details by with- holding some information before the experiment begins but then debriefing subjects at the end. In the debriefing, the researcher explains to the subjects what happened in the experi- ment and why and responds to their questions. A carefirlly designed debriefing procedure can help the research participants learn from the experimental research and grapple con- structively with feelings elicited by the realization that they were deceived (Sieber 1992). FIowever, even though debriefing can be viewed as a substitute, in some cases, for securing fully informed consent prior to the experiment, debriefed subjects who disclose the nature of the experiment to other participants can contaminate subsequent results (Adair, Dushenko, and Lindsay 1985). Apparendy for this reason, Milgram provided litde information in his debriefing to participants in most of his experiments. It was only in the last two months of his study that he began to provide more information, while still asking participants not to reveal the true nature of the experimental procedures until after the study was completely over @erry 2013). Unfortunately, if the debriefing process is delayed, the ability to lessen any harm resulting from the deception is also reduced.

The process and even possibility of obtaining informed consent must take into account the capacity of prospective participants to give informed consent. W’e will discuss the issues of informed consent with children and other special populations later in the chapter.

Rone.t. B adhmanil. PhD,…,,.,’. .. … .. . .. .

Principal Investigator Uniuersity. of

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Avoid Deception in Research, Except in Limited Circumstances

Deception occurs when subjects are misled about research procedures to determine how they would react to the treatrnent if they were not research subjects. Deception is a critical component of many social psychology experiments, in part because of the difficulty of simu- lating real-world stresses and dilemmas in a laboratory setting. The goal is to get subjects “to accept as true what is false or to give a false impression” (Korn 1997,+).In Milgram’s (1963) experiment, for example, deception seemed necessary because the subjects could not be per- mitted to administer real electric shocks to the f’student;” yet it would not have made sense to order the subjecs to do something that they didnt find to be so troubling. Milgram (1992) insisted that the deception was absolutely essential. The results of many other social psycho- logical experiments would be worthless if subjects understood what was really happening to them while the experiment was in progress. The real question, then, is this: Is this sufEcient justification to allow the use ofdeception?

Gary Marshall and Philip Zimbardo (1979) sought to determine the physiological basis of emotion by injecting student volunteers with adrenaline so that their heart rate and sweat- ing would increase and then placing them in a room with a student “stooge” who acted silly.


l’Jsed in s*cial eHp*rirfi*r]ts tt: cr’*at* mCIr* resli*tic tr*atrn*nt* i n wh iclt ths tru*

ilLirilfis# tf the rss*ar*h i$ rrCIt disclos*d ts parti*ipant*,

*ff*n within [h* ***flr]*$ *f a la.i:oratrry,


Exhibit3.T Gonsent Form B

But the students were told that they were being injected with a vitamin supplement to test its effect on visual acuity (Korn 1997). Piliavin and Piliavin (1972) staged fake seizures on subway trains to study helpfulness (Korn 1997). Would you vote to allow such deceptive practices in research if you were a member of your university’s IRB? What about less dramatic instances of deception in laboratory experiments with students such as yourself.) Do you react differ- endy to the debriefing by Milgram compared to that by Zimbardo?

What scientific or educational or applied “value” would make deception justifiable, even if there is some potential for harm? Who determines whether a nondeceptive intervention is “equally effective” (Miller 1986, 103)? Baumrind (1985) suggested that personal introspection would have been sufficient to test Milgram’s hypothesis and has argued subsequendy that inten- tional deception in research violates the ethical principles of self-determination, protection of others, and maintenance of trust between people and so c:rn never be justified. How much rislq discomforq or unpleasanmess might be seen as affecting willingness to participate? When should a postexperimenal aftempt to correct any misconception due to deception be deemed sufficient?

Maintain Privacy and Confidentiality

Mainaining privacy and confidentiality is another key ethical sandard for protecting research participants, and the researcher’s commitrnent to that standard should be included in the informed consent agreement (Sieber 1992). Procedures to protect each subject’s privacy, such as locking records and creating special identifting codes, must be created to minimize the risk of access by unauthorized persons. However, statements about confidentiality should be real- istic: Laws allow research records to be subpoenaed and may require reporting child abuse; a researcher may feel compelled to release information if a health- or life-threatening situation arises and parcicipants need to be alerted. AIso, the sandard of confidentiality does not apply to observation in public places and information available in public records.

There are two exceptions to some of these constraints: The National Institute of Justice 8r[$ can issue a Privacy Certificate, and the National Institutes of Health can issue a Certifi- cate of Confidentiality. Both of these documens protect researchers from being legally required to disclose confidential information. Researchers who are focusing on high-risk populations or behaviors, such as crime, substance abuse, sexual activity, or genetic information, can request zuch a certificate. Suspicions of child abuse or neglect must still be reported, and in some sates, researchers may still be required to report such crimes as elder abuse (Arwood and Panicker 2007).

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (IIIPAA) passed by Congress tn 1996 created much more stringent regulations for the protection of health care data. As implemented by the U.S. DHHS in 2000 (and revised in 2002), the HIPAA Final Privary Rule applies to oral, written, and electronic information that relates to the past, present, or future physical or mental health or condition of an individual. The HIPAA rule requires that researchers have valid authorization for anyuse or disclosure ofprotected health information (PIII) from a health care provider. Waivers of authorization can be granted in special circum- stances (Cava, Cushman, and Goodman 2007).

Clearly, there are many factors that members of an IRB must weigh when deciding whether to approve a study involving human subjects. Exhibit 3.8 shows a portion of the complex flowchart developed by the U.S. DHHS to help researchers decide what type of review will be needed for their research plans. Any research involving deception requires formal human subjects review.

Benefits of Research Should Outweigh Risks As you can see, scientiss must consider the uses to which their research is put. Although many scientists believe that personal values should be left ouside the laboratory, some feel that it is proper—-€ven necessary-for scientists to concem themselves with the way their research is used.

Privacy Certificate:

hlaticnal lnstitut* rf Justi*c d**untu*t ihat prul*cts

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cr:nfi d*niial r nf*rnrati*n,


Does the research

involve only the use of educational fesfs, survey procedures,

interview procedures,

or observation of public




Does the reasearch involve

children to whom 45 CFR part 45, subpart

D applies?

ls the information obtained recorded in such a manner that human subTecfs can be identified, directly or through identifiers linked to the subjects; and could any disclosu re of the human subjects’

responses outside the research reasonably place the subjecfs at risk of criminal or civil

liability or be damaging to the subjects’ financial standing, employability, or reputation?

Does the research involve survey

procedures, interview procedures, or

observation of public behavior where the

investigator participates in the

activities being observed?

[as CFR 46.101(b)]

Are the human subjects elected or appointed public officials or candidates for public office?

(Applies to senior officials, such as mayor or school superindendent, rather

than a police officer or teacher.)

Does any Federal statute require without exception that the confidentiality of personally identifiable information will be

maintained throughout the research and thereafter?

Research is exempt under 45 CFR 46.101(bX3) from all 45 CFR part 46 requirements.

However, the 45 CFR 46.101(bX3) exemption might apply.



Research is not exempt under 45 CFR

46.101(bX2) or (bX3).

Go to Chart 8


Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


Exhibit 3.8 U.S. Depa:tmentof Health and Human Senrices Human Subjects Decision flowchirt 4: For Tbsts, Sunreys, Intenriews, and Public Behavior Obsenrations

Research is not exempt under 45

cFR 46.101 (bX2).

Milgram made it clear that he was concerned about the phenomenon of obedience precisely because of is implications for people’s welfare. As you have already learned, his first article (Milg.- 1963) highlighted the atrocities committed under the Nazis by citizens and soldiers who were “just following orders.” In his more comprehensive book on the obedience experi- mene (Milgram 1974),he also argued that his findings shed light on the arocities committed in the Vietnam War at My Lai, slavery the destruction of the American Indian population, and the internment ofJapanese Americans during World War tr. Milgram makes no erplicit attempt to “tell us what to do” about this problem. In ftct, as a dispassionate social scientisg Milgram (1974) tells us, “\[hat the present study [did was] to give the dilemma [of obedience to authoriry] contemporary form by treating it as subject matter for experimental inquiry and with the aim of undersanding rather than judging it from a moral standpoint” (xi). flis research highlighted the extent of obedience to authority and identified multiple factors that could be manipulated to lessen blind obedience, and Burger’s (2009) replication has unfortunately shown that people are no less willing to engage in such behavior now than they were then.

Philip Zimbardo also made it clear that he was concerned about the phenomenon of situational influence on behavior precisely because of its implications for people’s welfare. As you have already learned, his first article (flaney et al. 1973) highlighted abuses in the treatment of prisoners. In his more comprehensive booh Zimbardo (2007) also used his findings to shed light on the atrocities committed at Abu Ghraib, and he made clear poliry recommendations for prison reforms.

The ev”aluationresearchbylawrence Sherman and RichardBerk(1984) onthepoliceresponse to domestic violence provides an interesting cautionary tale about the uses of science. As you recall

from Chapter 2, the resrlts of this field experiment indicated that those who were arrested were less likely to subsequendy commit violent acts against their parmers. Sherman (1993) explicidy cautioned police departrnens not to adopt mandatory arrest policies based solely on the resuls of the Minneapolis experimeng but the resuls were publicized in the mass media and encouraged many jurisdictions to change their policies @inder and Meeker 1993; Lempert 1989). Although we norr lnow that the original finding of a deterrent effect of arrest did not hold up in other cities where the orperiment was repeated, Sherman (1992) later suggested that implementing mandatory arrest policies might have prevented some zubsequent cases of intimate parmer violence. JoAnn Mller’s (2003) analpis of victims’ o<periences and perceptions concerning their safety after the mandatory arrest experiment in Dade County, Florida, found that victims reported less violence if their abuser had been a:rested (andlor assigned to a police-based courseling program called “Safe Strees’) Gxhibit 3.9). Should this Dade County firdirg be publicized in the popular press so it can be used to improve police policies? What about the renrlts of the other replication studies? The answers to such questions are never easy.

Social scientisB who conduct research on behalf of specific organizations may face additional difficulties when the organization, instead of the researcher, controls the final report and the publicity it receives. If organizadonal leaders decide that particular research results are unwelcome, the researcher’s desire to have fiodirgs used appropriately and reported frrlly can conflictwith contractual obligations. Researchers can often anticipate such dilemmas in advance and resolve them when the contract for research is negotiated—-or simply decline a particular research oppornnity altogether. But often, such problems come up only after a report has been drafted, or the problems are ignored by a researcher who needs to have a job or needs to main- tain particular personal relationships. These possibilities cannot be avoided entirely, but because of them, it is always important to acknowledge the source of research funding in reports and to consider carefully the sources of funding for research reports written by others.

The potential of withholding a beneficial treatrnent from some subjects also is a cause for ethical concern. The Sherman and Berk (1984) experiment required the random assignment of subjects to treatrnent conditions and thus had the potential of causing harm to the victims of domestic violence whose batterers were not arrested. The justification for the study desigrr, howeveq is quite persuasive: The researchers didn’t know prior to the experiment which


Control Arrest Safe Streets Arrest and Safe Streets

Treatment Condition

Source: Adapted from Miller 2003,704.

response to a domestic violence complaint would be most likely to deter future incidents (Sherman I992).The experiment provided clear evidence about the value of arrest, so it can be argued that the benefits outweighed the risks.


How can we be certain that researchers abide by these ethical guidelines? Today, federal regulatiors require that wery institution that seels federal firnding for biomedical or behavioral research on human subjects has an Institutional Revierv Boand (IRB) that reviews research proposals involving human subjecs-including daa about living individuals. According to federal regulations [45 CFR 46.102(d)),raemch is “a qzstematic investigation . . . designed to develop or conribute to generalizable knowledge,” and according to the U.S. DHHS [45 CFR %.102 (1)], a burnan nbjex k “a living individual aboutwhom an investigator (whetherprofessional or student) conductingresearch obtains data through intervention or interactionvrith the individual or justidentifiable prilate information.” The IRB determines whether a planned activity is research or involves human zubjecs.

IRBs at universities and other agencies apply ethical standards that are set by federal regulations but can be expanded or specified by the institution’s IRB and involve all research at the institution irrespective of the funding source (Sieber 1992,5, 10).The IRB has the authority to require changes in a research protocol or to refuse to approve a research protocol if it deems the human subjects protections inadequate. Consent forms must include contact information for the IRB, and the IRB has the authority to terminate a research project that violates the IRB-approved procedures or that otherwise creates risks for human subjects. The OfEce for Protection from Research Risks monitors IRBs, with the exception of research involving drugs (which is the responsibility of the U.S. Food and DrugAdministration).

To promote adequate review of ethical issues, the regulations require tlat IRBs include at least five members, with at least one nonscientist and one scientist from outside the institution (Speiglman and Spear 2009, 124). The new regulations for IRBs also stipulate that they “shall be sufficiendy qualified through the experience and erpertise of its members, including race, gen- der, and cultural backgrounds and sensitivigz to such issues as community attitudes, to promote respect for its advice and counsel in safeguarding the rights and welfare of human subjece” (Federal Register 2017,7263).When research is reviewed concerning populations vulnerable to coercion or undue influence, such as prisoners, the IRB must include a member knowledgeable

!nstitutional Beview Board (lHB):

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Exhibit 3.9 Victim Reports of Violence Following Police Intenrention


30 E g2a o o-


about that population (Chadwick 2017, +). Sensitivity to cornmunity attitudes and training in human subjects protection procedures is also required (Selwiz, Epley, and Erickson 2013).

Every member of an institution with an IRB-including faculty, studen*, and staff at a college or university-must submit a proposal to their IRB before conducting research with identifiable people. The IRB proposal must include research instruments and consent forms (as applicable) as well as enough detail about the research design to convince the IRB mem- bers that the potential benefits of the research outweigh any risks (Speiglman and Spear 2009, 124). Most IRBs also require that researchers complete a training program about human subjects, usually the Collaborative Institutional taining Initiative (CITD at the University of Miami (https://about.citiprogram.orglen/homepage/). CITI training is divided into topical modules ranging from history ethical principles, and informed consent to vulnerable popula- tions, Internet-based research, educational research, and records-based research. Each IRB determines which CITI training modules researchers at its institution must complete.


fu you might imagine, there are special protections for certain segments of the population, including children and individuals under some forrn of correctional supervision. Regardless of the study being conducted, research relying on either children or prisoners usually requires a firll review by an IRB.

Research With Children; By regulatory definition, persons under 18 years old are considered to be children, and, as such, they have not attained the legal age for consent to reatrnents and procedures involved in research. Generally, IRBs analyze the same considerations for children as they would for other research participans, including whether the research benefis gained are worth the rislis involved. The issue of informed consent, however, must be handled differendy, as children cannot legally provide their own consent to participate in a study. To conduct research on children, active parental consent usually is required before the child can be approached direcdy about the research. In active conseng the parens or guardians ofa child being asked to participate in a study must sign a consent form. As you might imagine, adding this requirement to a research project can dramatically reduce participation, because many parents simply do not bother to respond to mailed consent forms. For example, Sloboda and colleagues (2009) used an active consent procedure for gaining parental consent along with student assent: Parents and students both had to sign forms before the student could participate. The result was that only 58% of the 34,000 eligible swenth-grade students were enrolled in the study.

When Tlicia Leakey and her colleagues (2004) were conducting research on a smoking prevention effort for middle school studens, they were creative in getting parental consent forms returned. When the project began in the seventh grade, the researchers gave students project information and a consent card to take home to their parents. A pizza party was then held in every class where at least 90o/o of. the students returned a signed consent card. In sub- sequent follow-ups in the eighth grade, a reminder letter was sent to parents whose children had previously participated. Classes with high participation rates also received a candy thank you. fu Exhibit 3 . 10 shows, the result was a very high rate of participation.

IRBs sometimes allow the use of a passive consent procedure-studens can participate as long as their parents do not return a form indicating their lack of consent-and this can result in much higher rates of participation. In fact, based on Article 12 of the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (LINCROC), which acknowledged that chil- dren are people who have a right to be heard, there has been an increased push for children to have their voices heard in research. Carroll-Lind, Chapman, and Raskauskas in New Zealand



I i:;: i:j::::::r :i :::r:::t:::li:t: i!:r ijt i:! ❗ rilt::!t ti:j ii:lr i:!i:tr !:: !:r i:t i:::!rt:!:r:!:tr!:t::

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Source: Leakey,Tiicia, Kevin B. Lunde, Karin Koga, and Karen Glanz.2004.’Written Parental Consent and the Use oflncentives in aYouth Smoking PreventionTtial A Case Study From Project SPLASH.”AmericanJoumal of Eualuation2S:5O9-523.

Noter Parents who had refused participation at the previous survey point were again contacted for permission at the next survey point.

“Number of students who were enrolled in the program varies over time depending on classroom enrollment and teacher participation rates. bNumber of consent forms that were handed out at each time period to new students.

“Out of the total number of consent forms distributed. aOut of the total number of consent forms retumed.

“Out ofall students who had parental consent and were present on the day ofthe survey. rProject staffexplained and distributed consent on site.

{eachers explained and distributed consent.

(2011) attempted just that when they surveyed children aged 9 to 13 years about their experi- ences with violence. They utilized a passive consent procedure that facilitated the right of chil- dren to report on their experiences ofviolence. To defend their use ofthis method, they stated,

The Ethics Committee carefirlly weighed and gave credence to the issue of children’s righs to protection and acknowledged and confirmedArticle 12 of the IINCROC that grants children the rightto speakonrnatters thatconcernthem.Active consentcould have compromised both ofthese right.Theviewwas held that proteaingthe rights of drildren was more important than parental rights to privacy regarding abuse in the home. (7)

Research With Prisoners.’ Because individuals under the supervision of a correctional system are under constraints that could affect their ability to voluntarily consent to participate in research, there are also special protections for these populations. The DHHS has imposed strict limits on the involvement of prisoners as research subjects unless the research is material to their lives as prisoners.Thetermprisoneris defined by DHHS (McGough 2015) as follows:

A prisoner means any individual involuntarily confined or detained in a penal institu- tion. The term is intended to encompass individuals sentenced to such an institution under criminal or civil statue, individuals deained in other facilities byvirtue of stat- ues or commitrnent procedures which provide alternatives to criminal prosecution or incarceration in a penal institution, and individuals detained pending arraignment, trial, or sentencing. (2)

Included are those in hospials or alcohol and drug teatrnent facilities under court order. Individuals in work-release prograrns and in at-home detention programs also quali$, as prison- ers.The definition applies to minors as well as to adults.


Exhibit 3.10 Parental Gonsent Response Rates and Outcomes

Although regulations restrict participation of prisoners to research that is material to their lives, this actually includes a great deal of research. For example, they can participate in research examining many issues, including but not limited to the following: research on the possible causes, possible effects, and processes ofincarceration and ofcriminal behavior; research on conditions particularly affecting prisoners as a class, such as diseases like hepatitis and substance abuse; and research that has the intent of improving their health and well-being.

Voluntary consent is an imporant issue with research involving prisoners. IRBs ensure that the decision to take part in research can have no effect on an inmate’s future treatrnent andl or parole decision. The use of incentives for prisoners is also judged differendy than the use of incentives for the general population. For orample, while a $10 incentive to participate may not seem like a lot to someone not in prison, the maximum wage in many sate prisons is only $1 per day, so a $10 incentive is a great deal indeedl In research one of the authors just completed on factors related to desistance from substance abuse and crime, former inmates who were not cur- rently under correctional supervision were given S 1 00 to travel to the research offrce for a three- hour interview, and those who were still in prison were provided $20 in their prison spending accounts for a comparable interview (Bachman et al. 2013). The IRB in this case deemed that giving current inmates $100 (as former inmates were given) would unduly influence them to participate in the study, since this amount was comparable to five month’s pay in prison.

In suni, research involving children or prisoners represents special cases for IRBs to con- sider when evaluating the benefits and potential harms of a study. Typically, when proposals come before IRBs that involve these special populations, special representatives ensure that their righs are protected.


Sexual Solicitation of Adolescents and Milgram Revisited After reading this chapter, you may think that the ethical dilemmas from the past have been remedied by the new regulations and oversights. F{owever, research organizations and IRBs around the world have to make decisions every day about whether the benefits of research outweigh the risla imposed to human subjects. For researchers interested in examining crimi- nal, deviant, or otherwise hidden subcultures, obtaining informed consent is often a dubious enterprise. In addition, the growth of the World Wide Web has provided new frontiers for observing and engaging in online communications in such forums as blogs and online chat rooms. In fact, Calvey has described the cyber world as “a covert playground, where social researchers typically’lurk’in order to explore this area” (2014,546). This research has gen- erated renewed debate about informed consent and deception. Of course, some researchers contend that covert research that does not obain voluntary consent is necessary and justi- fied, because the information would otherwise be closed to research or because alerting par- ticipants that they are being studied would change their behavior or put researchers at risk @earson 2009). A few contemporary case studies will illuminate these ethical dilemmas well.

The first research example comes from studies examining chat rooms and pedophilia. Research indicates that sexual or romantic relationships between adults and adolescents sometimes are initiated in Internet chat rooms. In fact, reality television shows such as To Catch a Predator impersonate underage people to solicit male adults over the Internet. Of course, many police organizations (including the Federal Bureau of Investigation [FBI]) uti- lize such methods, and investigative journalists, such as those who developed To Catch a Predator, do not have to go through an IRB for permission.

But what about researchers who do? To more fi:lly understand these chat room solicita- tions, Bergen and her colleagues (2013) examined how adult male chat room visitors reacted to children and adolescents (they were adults posing as children) in three chat rooms. They wanted


to determine whether the age of the child affected whether the adults continued to engage in sexual conversation or pursued a meeting after finding out the ages of the impersonated children. The impersonators pretended to be either 10, 12, I+,16, or 18 years ofage. The researchers hypothesized that the older the impersonated child was, the more Iikely it was that adult males would express sexual interest and suggest meeting offline. All chat rooms were free and did not require registration, and one had a homosexual orientation while the other two were hetero- sexual in nature. Results indicated that the adult males were more likely to engage in sexual conversation and flat face-to-face meetings were more likely to be suggested for impersonators who were 16 or older. Moreover, almost half of the adult males (46’/”) stopped the conversation after they leamed that the impersonator was 10 or 12. However, quite disturbingly, one in five adult males continued sexual conversations even when impersonators divulged their age to be under 13. This research confirmed previous research findings that sexual predators are more likely to solicit older adolescents; however, it revealed that there is a nontrivial percenage of predators who are not deterred from soliciting children as young as 10 years ofage.

Was this lnowledge worth the lack of informed consent and deception in the research? Bergen and her colleagues (2013) were aware of the ethical dilemmas but concluded that

the value of the results from the present studywould be higher than the possible harm. . . . AIso, it should be noted, that we had no means (nor any interest in) gaining any information that could lead to a positive identification of those engaging in conversa- tion, thus ensuring absolute anoqzmity in the study. (108)

DoYou Agree?

You may also be surprised to learn that a few IRBs have allowed both Milgram’s obedience experiment md Zimbardo’s prison experiment to be replicated with the addition of more human subject protections. For example, Jerry Burger (2009) replicated Milgram’s experiment with several modifications. In Burger’s erperiment, the following protections were implemented: (1) No subject was allowed to go beyond the 150-volt mark, (2) a two-step screening process was used to exclude any individuals who might have a negative reaction to the experience, (3) participants were told at least three times that they could withdraw from the study at any time and still receive their $50 for participation, (4) participants were monitored by a clinical psychologist to identifz excessive stress, and (5) participants were told immediately after the experiment that the “learner” had received no shocks. After all of these safeguards were implemented, the IRB at Santa Clara Universitg where Dr. Burger is a faculty member, approved the project. It is somewhat troubling that results indicated that obedience rates in this 2006 replication were only slighdy lower than those Milgram found. In fact, the majority of both men and women continued after the limit of 150 volts was reached. Burger illuminated the importance of his findings by concluding, “Although one must be cautious when making the leap from laboratory studies to complex social behaviors like genocide, understanding the social psychological factors that contribute to people acting in unexpected and unsetding ways is important” @urger 2009, 10). If you had been serving on an IRB, would you have determined that the benefits of this study outweighed the potential costs?


The extent to which ethical issues are a problem for researchers and their subjects varies dra- matically with the gpe of research design. Survey research, in particular, creates few ethical problems. In fact, researchers from the Survey Research Center at the lJniversity of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research interviewed a representative national sample of adults and found rhat 687″ of those who had participated in a survey were somewhat or very interested in participating in another; the more times respondents had been interviewed, the more willing they were to participate again. Presumably, they would have felt differendy if they had been


treated unethically (Reynolds 1979). On the other hand, some experimenal snrdies in the social sciences that have put people in uncomfortable or embarrassing situations have gener- ated vociferous complaints and years of debate about ethics @eynolds 1979; Sjoberg 1967).

The evaluation ofethical issues in a research project should be based on a realistic assess- ment ofthe overall potential for harm and benefit to research subjects rather than an apparenr inconsistency between any particular aspect ofa research plan and a specific ethical guideline. For example, full disclosure of “what is really going on” in an experimenal smdy is unneces- sary if subjects are unlikely to be harmed. Nevertheless, researchers should make every effort to foresee all possible risLs and to weigh the possible benefis ofthe research against these risks. They should consult with individuals with different perspectives to develop a realistic risk-benefit assessment, and they should try to maximize the benefits to, as well as minimize the risls for, subjects ofthe research (Sieber 1992).

Ultimately, these decisions about ethical procedures are not up to you, as a researcher, to make. Your universityt IRB sets the human subjects protection standards for your institution and will require that researchers-even, in most cases, students-submit their research pro- posal to the IRB for review. So, we leave you with the instruction to review the human subjects guidelines of the ACJS or other professional association in your field, consult your universifs procedures for the conduct ofresearch with human subjects, and then proceed accordingly.

F,,,Rev,ie.w key terms \Mith eFl,a,shcards,

Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS) Code of Ethics 64

Belmont Report 63 Beneficence 63 Certificate of Confidentiality 7 4 Debriefirg 72 Deception 73

Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects (Common Rule) 64

Institutional review board (IRB) 7 7 Justice (in research) 63 Nuremberg War Crime tials 62

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2013Y R BS;S&v The 2013YRBS (Youth Risk Behavior Survey) is a national study of high school students. It focuses on gauging various behaviors and experiences of the adolescent population,

inciuding substance use and sorne victimization.

Variable Name Description

The state in which the respondent livesstate

sc hool narne The name of the sdhool the respondent went to

Dichotomy based on how respondents answer a question about whether they have been forced to have sex on a date in the past year, where’l = yes and O = no

Dichotomy based on whether respondent smoked marijuana in the past month, where 1-yesand0=no

This time, we’ll be using the YRBS 2013 subsample, which is a survey of high school srudents all around the United States. This survey was given to students in a classroom filled with their peers under the supervision of a trained survey administrator.

1 Let’s say we’d like to see if individuals from different schools and states have higher or lower rates of sexual victimi zatton. First, make a frequency table (analyze-> descriptives->frequencies) of the variables state and scboalname.What do you see? Why do you think that the results look this way? How does this apply to what you’ve been reading about research ethics?

Calculate a frequency table for the variable qn23 (forced to have sex on a date).

First, what sort of ethical considerations need to be made when asking a question like this? Bear in mind that this survey was given to students in a classroom filled with their peers under the supervision of a trained survey administrator.


Get thertools you need to sharpen you;rstudy skil!s, Accessrpractice quizzes, eFlashcards, video, and multimedia at http://edge.sagepub.com/bachmanprccjTe.


Learnrng q imilar to the research methods we examined in Chapter 10, the dataused for\) the methods described in this chapter often rely on secondary data.Impor- tantly, the methods covered in this chapter can be used both for investigative purposes and for basic research purposes. The rise of social media platforms such as Facebook and Tivitter have provided both researchers and practitioners with an abundance of data from which to draw inferences.

In this chapteq we will first introduce you to social nenvork analysis and demonstrate how it has been applied to research as well as law enforcement investigative practices. We next discuss mapping generally (and crime mapping specificrll, and examine how this technique has also been applied to police practice as well as general research. And finally, we will conclude the chapter with an introduction to the concept of big data, which you will learn is not merely an extremely large and dynamic set of data but also refers to techniques used to extract information from these datasets.


It is virtually impossible today not to be part of social networks. Everyone you interact with, including those in the virtual as well as in the real world ) are part of your social network. We inherently think about the world in terms of these networks, including such networks as familial and friendship nenvorks, other students in your major in college, people who work out at the samo time as you at the Wm, and the many “friends” you llr,ay not actually know in real life on platforms such as Facebook or those who similarly liked some- thing on Twirter. The method of social network analysis (SNA) has increas- ingly been used since the Internet and these social media platforms emerged. There are entire textbooks devoted to SNA, so the goal of this chapter is to introduce you to the basics, along with a few case studies that highlight their applicability in the field. SNA is not one type of method but is an approach to analysis and a set of methodological techniques that help researchers describe and explore relationships that individuals and groups have with each other (Scott 2017).

Social networks are tFpes of relationships that can include many dif- ferent forms, such as face -to-face and online interactions, digital economic transactions, interaction with a criminal justice agenqr, geopolitical relations among nation states, and so on. As you can see, there are numerous tFpes



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Understand how social network analysis and crime mapping can be used for intelligence-Ied policing as well as basic research.

Describe the different research questions crime mapping can answer.

, Understand how computer technology has ushered in

t .a.

our ability to analyze big data and the effects this has had on criminal justice- related research.

‘:!: Be able to see the connection between research and investigative policing.

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of networks available for analysis. The most important component of any network is that it is relational. That is an important assumption. So far in this book, we have talked about variables that measure attributes of the units of analysis, such as the behavior of people, the crime rates of cities, and so on. Relational data measure the contacts, connections, attachments, and ties that relate one unit to the next (Scott 2017).Ar a result, these relation al data are not properties of any particular unit (e.g., individual, group, .ity) but are”relational systems” of units that are created by connecting pairs of interacting units. Importandy, then, it is the technique used to describe and examine relational data that is the key to SNA. Many of the traditional methods that we have already discussed in this book can also be used to collect relational data. For example, surveys, interviews, participant observation, and secondary data can all be used to generate relational data for SNA’ as we will see in the case studies that follow.

Although literally thousands of articles examined aspects of social structure in the early twentieth century, one of the first graphical applications of social networks was created by Jacob Moreno to examine friendship choices. In his classic book,LVho Shall Suntiae? Moreno (1953) describes his definition of sociometry as being in accordance with its eqrmology from Latin and Greek, “with the emphasis . . . on the second half of the tem,’metrum,’meaning measure, but also on the first half, ‘socius’ meaning companion” (51). Instead of focusing exclusively on the individual or exclusively on an aggregate entity, Mereno believed that the relationship between individuals within a group must also be examined. Using a sociometric test, which required individuals to choose their associates from a group in which they were a member, attractions ar,d.repubions were determined. For example, if your instructor wanted to understand the social strucflrre of the class you are in right now, she or he might ask each stu- dent to hypothetically choose among the students whom they wanted to have sit next to them (attraction) and whom they would like to have moved to another class (repulsion). Responses received from each individual in the group could then be graphed in asociogram, which is a way of representing social configurations, with individuals (or some other unit) represented by points and their social relationships to one another depicted by lines (Moreno 1953). The formal terminology that describes these graphs as well as the units and relationships therein are called several things, depending on the discipline. The social sciences generally call the basic unis in a graph nodes (sometimes called ac’tors or aertices) and nodes are connected by relations (sometimes called. ties,links, arcs, or edges). As noted above, relationship data such as these can be collected from many places, such as ofEcial records, Facebook friends, and so on

ffang, Keller, and Zheng 2017). SNA usually consists of at least two datasets. The first is called the nodelist, where all

of the units of observation are stored. The second defines the relations between these units. One of the most common t)apes of relations data is called an adjacency matrix (sometimes called nenlork matix), wherein the nodes constitute both the rows and the columns and the cells specif, if and what kind of relationship exists between the nodes at the intersection of each row and column. We are going to stick with the simplest case of a binary network, which only distinguishes whether a relation does or does not exist between a pair of nodes (Yang et al. 2017). An example of a network graph and the nodelist and adjacenry matrix upon which it is based is presented in Exhibit 11.1. fu you can imagine, nodes and relations can be much more complicated than this simple example, and special software is required to mathematically describe the numerous networks that emerge from such data. A discussion of these issues is beyond the scope of this text, but we want to provide you with some excit- ing case studies of how SNA is being used in research related to criminology and criminal justice.

Belational data:

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ou’ve learned, tcards,

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Nodelist A Andrei B Barbara C Chris D Den n is

E E rica F Fannv

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Networks of Terrorist Cells

On September 1 l, 2001, nineteen members of the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda hijacked four airplanes and carried out suicide crashes into four places in the United States.The targets included the north and south towers of the World Tiade Center, the Pentagon, and Wash- ington, D.C. (in the last instance, the passengers fought the hijackers, preventing the plane from hitting its target and causing it to crash into an empty field in Pennsylvania instead). Almost 3,000 people were killed, including all of the passengers on the planes along with the 19 hijackers and many hundreds ofpeople in the targeted buildings, which included rescuers. About a month before the 9/ll attack Zac*ias Moussaoui, a French citizen of Moroccan descent, and sometimes referred to as the 20th hijacker,was arrested after he raised suspicion at a flight school in Oklahoma by requesting information on flying a 747. Motssaoui was eventually indicted and found guilty in 2006 of six charges, including conspirary to com- mit acts of terrorism. Information from his indictrnent (United States of Arnerica o. Zacarins


Exhibit L1.1 Example of a Network Graph With lts Nodelist and Adjacency Matrix

Moussaoui 2001), along with other information uncovered by Tbe Nera York Times and the Washington Post have been used to conduct social network analyses of the terrorist cell that carried ofig/ll. One of the first attempts was made by Krebs (2002), who created one of the first network graphs of the terrorist network. An adapted snippet of his graph is displayed in Exhibit 11.2.

Without going into the advanced statistical analysis performed by Krebs to describe the strength of the relations for the terrorists, many conclusions can be drawn from this graph, including the meticulousness with which the hijackers kept their identities unknown even from each other. Krebs explains, “Many pairs of team members were beyond the horizon of observability. . . . Keeping cell members distant from each other, and from other cells,

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Source:Adapted from Krebs 2002, Figure 4, p. 50.

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Exhibi t 77.2 Partial Network Graph of the gt77 Terrorist Attackers

r El Mot assadeq

minimizes damage to the network if a cell member is captured or otherwise compromised” (2002,46).Kreb’s graph also confirms the fact that MohamedAtta was the likely leader of the cell, as he has the most relations with other nodes.

Krebs analysis shows the benefits of SNA when putting together a case for prosecution. It also highlights the inherent difficulty of using SNA for preventing or uncovering secret illegal networls. Krebs concludes,

The best solution for network disruption may be to discover possible suspects and then, via snowball sampling, map their ego networks-see whom else they lead to, and where they overlap. To find these suspects it appears that the best method is for diverse intelligence agencies to aggregate their information-their individual pieces to the puzzle-into a larger emergent map. (51)

While using SNA for investigative purposes has its challenges, our next case study demon- strates the merits of doing so.


Finding a Serial Killer The Green River serial killer (GRK) killed his first victim, 16-year-old Wendy CofEeld, in Kings County, Washington. Her body was found inJuly of 1982 in the Green River, which became the name given to the then-unidentified killer. After 48 other murders, Gary Leon Ridgway was finally charged as the serial killer in September 2001, despite the fact that he was on the list of suspecrc much earlier. Media interest of the cases generated thousands of leads, and these leads compounded with every new victim, which resulted in a huge amount of data to examine. However, large amounts of data are not the only hindrance to solving a case. Like all of us, police detectives can have cognitive biases (see Chapter 1 for a list of common biases), and when combined with an overabundance of information coming from the public, both reliable and unreliable, investigations can go awry.

In a recent papeg Bichler, Lim, and Larin Q0l7) have demonstrated how SNA can be used ‘ to aid in connecting the pieces ofa growing body ofevidence. Bichler and her colleagues col-

lected data about the Green River murders from multiple sources, including newspaper reports, bools, and court transcrips of Ridgway’s trial. They then performed a SNA analysis of the evi- dence over time to determine if SNA could have prevented investigators from keeping another man on top of their suspect list instead of Gary Ridgway. They state, “We argue that by identify- ing which actors shift in structural position during the investigation, it may be possible to reduce the damaging effects of tunnel vision, emphasis on specific evidence, and intuition” (141). The goal of their analysis was to find the connections between the victims and the suspects, along with the places they frequented. Because these murders Iikely involved strangers, Bichler et al. (2017) explain that other sources of information must be added to find clusters. They state,

People sharing social space will emerge when we link wimesses, friends, and associ- ates to the places they frequent, but finding individuals positioned between different

::m’m’ff ;ffi ffi:’-,”i’ff :x[;i;,H:*tH”‘suspectinacrimeseries

The categories of the data Bichler and her colleagues examined included victims, suspects, investigatory involvement (e.g., witnesses, body finders), family and associates, body disposal sites, last seen locations, and other investigative material. Because there were different levels of


geographical aggregation (e.9., a red light district, a specific hotel), all data points were placed within a census track Without going into the statistical deails of the study, they were particu- larly interested in “middleman” rtrho connected others not direcdy linked to each other. This is statistically measured with a betweenness centrality score. The researchers also created multiple graphs using data over time, beginningwith graphs using data thatwas available from the beginning of the investigation and creating more graphs until the data were exhausted (about 30 months into the investigation). Exhibit 1 1.3A displays a graph using data from the first six months of the investigation while Exhibit 11.3B depicts the investigation at 18 months, after which there was not much new data to incorporate. Line thiclness indicates the number of shared places between pairs, diamonds depict suspects, gray circles indicate victims, and other circles represent other case nodes (e.g., witnesses, body disposal sites).

Source: Adapted from Bichler, Lim, and LarinQAfl),Table 3,p.1,46.

Betweenness centrality sc0re:

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Exhibit 11.3 Network Graph of Nodes in the Green River Killer Investigation at 6 and 18 Months


Using Google Earth to Track Sexual Offending Recidivism While the GIS software that was utilized by Fitterer et al. (2015) has many research advan- ages for displaying the spatial distributions of crime, other researchers have begun to take advantage of other mapping tools, including Google Earth. One such endeavor was con- ducted by Duwe, Donnay, and Jbwksbury (2008), who sought to determine the effects of Minnesota’s residency restriction statute on the recidivism behavior of registered sex offend- ers. Many states have passed legislation that restricts where sex offenders are allowed to live. These policies are primarily intended to protect children from child molesters by deterring direct contact with schools, day care centers, parks, and so on. Most of these satutes are applied to all sex offenders, regardless oftheir’offending history or perceived risk ofreoffense.

The impact of such laws on sexual recidivism, however, remains unclear. Duwe et al. (2008) attempted to fill this gap in our knowledge.They examined224 sexoffenders who had been reincarcerated for a new sex offense between 1990 and 2005 and asked several research questions, including “Where did offenders initially establish contact with their victims, and where did they commit the offense?” and “What were the physical distances between an offender’s residence and both the offense and first contact locations?” (488). The research- ers used Google Earth to calculate the distance between an offender’s place of residence, the place where first contact with the victim occurred, and the location of offense.

Duwe and his colleagues (2008) investigated four criteria to classifr a reoffense as pre- ventable: (1) the means by which offenders established contact with their victims, (2) the


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distance between an offender’s residence and where first contact was established (i.e., 1,000 feet, 2,500 feet, or I mile), (3) the type of location where contact was esablished (e.g., was it a place where children congregated?), and (4) whether the victim was under the age of 18. To be classified as preventable tfuough housing restrictions, an offense had to meet ceftain criteria. For example, the offender would have had to establish direct contact with a juvenile victim within one mile of his residence at a place where children congreg?.te (“.g., pr.lc school).

Resuls indicated that the majority of offenders, as in all cases of sexual violence, viaimized someone theyalreadytnew. Oily35% ofthe sexoffenderrecidivists esablishednewdirectcontact with a victim, but these victims were more likely to be aduls than children, and the contact usually occurred more than a mile away from the offender’s residence. Of the few offenders who direcdy esablished new conact with a juvenile victim within dose proximity of their residence, none did so near a school, a parlg a playground, or other locations included in residential restriction laws.

The authors concluded that residenry restriction laws were not that effective in prevent- ing sexual recidivism among child molesters. Duwe et al. (2008) stated,

Why does residential proximity appear to matter so litde with regard to sexual reof- fending? Much of ithas to do with the pattems of sexual offendingin general. . . . Sex offenders are much more likely to victimize someone they know. For example, one of the most common victim–offender relationships in this study for those who victim- ized children] was that of a male offender developing a romantic relationship with a woman who had children. . . . Theyused their relationships with these women to gain access to their victims. . . . It was also common for offenders to gain access to victims through babysitting for an acquainance or co-worker. (500)

Clearly, the power of mapping technologies has changed not only the way law enforcement ofiicials are preventing crime but also the way in which researchers are examining the factors related to crime and crime control.


When do secondary data become what is now referred to as big data? Big data is a somewhat vague term that has been used to describe large and rapidly changing datasets and the analytic techniques used to extract information from them. It generally refers to data involving an entirely different order of magnitude than what we are used to thinking about as large data- sets. For our purposes, big data is simply defined as a very large dataset (e.g., contains thou- sands ofcases), accessible in a computer-readable form, that is used to reveal patterns, trends, and associations among variables. The technological advancements in computing power over the past decade have made analyses of these huge datasets more available to everyone, includ- ing government, corporate, and research entities alike. Importandy, many researchers now contend that “big daa holds great promise for improving the efEciency and effectiveness of law enforcement and security intelligence agencies” (Chan and Moses 2017,299).

Here are some examples of what now qualifies as big data (Mayer-Schcinberger and Cukier 2013): Facebookusers upload more than 10 million photos everyhour and leave a comment or click on a “like” button almost three billion times per day; YouTirbe users upload more than an hour of video every second; Twitter users are sending more than 400 million nveets per day. If all this and other forms of stored information in the world were printed in books, one estimate in 2 0 1 3 was that these books would cover tfie face of the eath 52 layers thick That’s “big.”

All this information would be of no more importance than the number of grains of sand on the beach except that these numbers describe information produced by people, available to social scientists, and manageable with today’s computers. Already, big data anallses are being used to predict the spread of flu, the behavior of consumers, and the prevalence of crime.

340 sEcnoN rv . ToprcAL RESEARCH DESTGNS

Here’s a quick demonstration: We talked about school shootings in Chapter 1, which are a form of mass murder. We think of mass murder as a relatively recent phenomenon, brit you may be surprised to learn that it has been written about for decades. One way to examine inquiries into mass murder is to see how frequendy the term mass murderhas appeared in all the boolis ever written in the world. It is now possible with the click of a mouse to answer that question, although with two key limitations: We can only examine bools written in English (and in a few other languages) and, as of 2014, we are limited to “only” one quarter of all books ever published-a mere 30 million books (Aiden and Michel 2013).

To check this out, go to the Google Ngrams site ftttps://books.google.com/ngrams), type in mass murder and serial murder, and check the case-insensitizte box (and change the end- ing year to 2015). Exhibit I 1.7 shows the resulting screen (if you dont obtain a graph, try using a different browser). Note that the height of a graph line represents the percentage that the term represents of all words in books published in each year, so a rising line means greater relative interest in the term, not simply more boo[s being published. You can see that mass ruarder emerges in the early 20th century, while serial ruurder did not begin to appear until much later, in the 1980s. It’s hard to stop checking other ideas by adding in other terms, searching in other languages, or shifting to another topic entirely. Our next case study illumi- nates how law enforcement agencies are also harnessing big daa to make predictions.


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Predicting Where Crime Will Occur

If you have seen tlle film Minoity Report, yotrhave gotten a far-fetched glimpse of a world where people are arrested for criminal acts that they are predicted to do, not that they have actually done. FOX also had a television series called Minority Report that was based on the same premise. While crime predictions in tlrese shows are based on clairvoyants (people who can see into the future) and not real data, law enforcement agencies are beginning to use big data to predict both future behavior in individuals and, as we saw with crime mapping, areas where crime is likely to occur in the future.

fu we highlighted earlier, crime mapping allows law enforcement agencies to estimate where hot spots of crime are occurring-where they have been most likely to occur in the past. Caplan and Kennedy (2015) from the Rutgers School of CriminalJustice have pioneered


Exhibit 11,.7 Ngram of, Mass Murder and Serial Murder

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a new way to forecast crime using big data called risk-temain modeling (RTM). Using daa from several sources, this modeling predicts the probability of crime occurring in the future using the underlying factors of the environment that are associated with illegal behavior. The imporant difference between this and regular crime mapping is that it takes into account features of the area that enable criminal behavior.

The process weights these factors (which are the independentvariables) and places them into a final model that produces a map of places where criminal behavior is most likely to occur. In this way, the predicted probability of future crime is the dependent variable. This modeling is essentially special-risk analysis in a more sophisticated form than the early maps ofthe Chicago school presented earlier. Kennedy and his colleagues (2012) explain:

Operationalizing the spatial influence of a crime factor tells a story, so to spefi about how that feature of the landscape affects behaviors and attracts or enables crime occurrence at places nearby to and far away from the feature iself. When certain motivated offenders interact with suitable targets, the risk of crime and victimization conceivably increases. But, when motivated offenders interact with suitable targets at cerain places, the risk of criminal victimization is even higher. Similarly, when certain motivated offenders interact with suitable targets at places that are not conducive to crime, the risk ofvictimization is lowered. (24)

Usingdau frommanysources, RTM statisticallycomputes the probabilityofparticularkinds of criminal behavior occurring in a place. For example, Exhibit 11.8 displays a risk-terrain map thatwas produced for Irvington, NewJersey. From the map, you can see that several variables were included in the model predicting the potential for shootinp to occur, including the presence of gangs and drup, along with other infrastructure information such as the location of bars and liquor stores.Whywere these some ofthe factors used? Because prwious research and police data indicated that shootings were more likely to occur where gangs, drup, and these businesses were present. This does not mean that a shooting will occur in the high-risk areas, it only means that it is more Iikely to occur in these areas compared to other areas. RTM is considered a use of big data because it examines multiple dausets that share geographic location as a common denominator.


Predicting Recidivism With Big Data fu you learned in Chapter 2, the Minneapolis DomesticViolence Experiment and the National Institute ofJustice’s Spousal Abuse Replication Projecg which were experiments to determine the efEcacy of different approaches to reducing recidivism for intimate partner violence (PV), changed the way IPV was handled by law enforcement agencies across the United States and across the globe. No longer were parties simply separated at the scene, but mandatory arrest policies were implemented in many jurisdictions across the country, which “swamped the sys- tem with domestic violence cases” fl&illiams and Houghton 200+, +38).In fact, some states now see thousands of perpetrators arrested annually for assauls against their intimate partners. Many jurisdictions are attempting to more objectively determine whether these perpetrators present a risk of future violence should they be released on parole or probation.

Williams (2012) developed one instrument to determine this risk, which is called the Reaised Domestic Wolence Screming Insnwmmt (DVSI-R).To determine the effectiveness of the DVSI-R in predicting recidivism, Stansfield and Williams (2014) used a huge dataset that would be deemed big dau, since it contains information on29,317 perpetrators arrested on familyviolence charges in 2010 in Connecticut and is continuouslyupdated for recent arrests


and convictions. To measure the risk of recidivism for new family violence offenses OIFVO), the DVSI-R includes eleven items: Seven measure the behavioral history of the perpetratoq including such things as prior nonfamily assaults, arrests, or criminal convictions; prior fam- ily violence assaults, threats, or arrests; prior violations ofprotection orders; the frequency of family violence in the previous six months; and the escalation of family violence in the past six months. The other four items include substance abuse, weapons or objects used as v/eapons, children present during violent incidents, and ernployment status. The range of the DVSI-R is from 0 to 28, with 28 representing the highest risk score.

To examine how the DVSI-R predicted future arrests, Stansfield and Williams (2014) used two measures of recidivism during an lS-month follow-up: rearrests for NFVOs and rearrests for violations of protective or restraining orders only. Results indicated that of the over 29,000 cases, nearly one in four Q3o/”) perpetators were rearrested, w:rrh l+% of those rearrested for a violation of a protective order. Perpetrators who had higher DVSI-R risk scores were more likely to be rearrested compared to those with lower risk scores. As you can see, using big data to improve decision making by criminal justice professionals is not a thing of the future, it is happening now. The availability of big data and advanced computer technologies for its analysis mean that researchers can apply standard research methods in exciting new ways, and this trend will only continue to grow.

Source: Obtained from personal correspondence with Leslie Kennedy and Joel Caplan.


Exhibit 11.8 Risk-Terrain Map

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Subject confidentiality is a key concern when original records are analyzed with either secondary data or big data. Whenever possible, all information that could identi$, individuals should be removed from the records to be analped so that no link is possible to the identities of living subjects or the living descendans of subjects (lluston and Naylor 1996,1698). When you use data that have already been archived, you need to find out what procedures were used to preserve subject confidentiality. The work required to ensure subject confidentiality probably will have been done for you by the data archivist. For example, the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) examines all data deposited in the archive carefully for the possibility of disclosure risk All data that might be used to identiS, respondents are altered to ensure confidentiality, including removal of information such as birth dates or service dates, specific incomes, or place of residence that could be used to identifiz subjects indirecdy (see http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/icpsrweb/content/ICPSWaccess/ restricted/index.htrnl). If all information that could be used in anyway to identiS, respondents cannot be removed from a data set without diminishing data set quality (e.g., by prevent- ing links to other essential data records), ICPSR restricts access to the data and requires that investigators agree to conditions of use that preserve subject confidentiality. Those who violate confidentiality may be subject to a scientific misconduct investigation by their home institution at the request of ICPSR (ohnson and Bullock 2009, 218). The IJK Data Archive provides more information about confidentiality and other human subjects protection issues at its website (https://www.ukdaaservice.ac.ul/manage-data/legal-ethical).

It is not up to you to decide whether there are any issues ofconcern regarding human subjects when you acquire a dataset for secondary analysis from a responsible source. The Institutional Review Board (RB) for the protection of human subjects at your college or uni- versity or other institution has the responsibility to decide whether they need to review and approve proposals for secon dary data analysis. Data quality is always a concern with secondary data, even when the data are collected by an official govefirment agency, and even when the data are “big.” Researchers who rely on secondary data inevitably make rade-offs between their ability to use a particular dataset and the specific hypotheses they can test. Ifa concept that is critical to a hypothesis was not measured adequately in a secondary data source, the study might have to be abandoned until a more adequate source of data can be found. Alter- natively, hlpotheses or even the research question iself may be modified to match the ana- lytic possibilities presented by the available data (Riedel 2000, 53). For instance, digital data may be unrepresentative of the general population due to socioeconomic differences berween those who use smartphones or connect to the Internet in other ways and those who live offline, as well as because of the difference between datasets to which we are allowed access and those tlat are controlled by private companies (I-ewis 2015). Social behavior online may also not reflect behavior in the everyday world.

Political concerns intersectwith ethical practice in secondary data analyses. How arerace and etbnicity coded in the U.S. Census? You learned in Chapter 4 that changing conceptu- alizations of race have affected what questions are asked in the census to measure race. This daa collection process reflects, in part, the influence ofpolitical interest groups, and it means that analysts using the census data must understand why the proportion of individuals choos- ing otber as their race and the proportion in a muhiracial category has changed. The same types of issues influence census and other government statistics collected in other countries.

Big data also creates some new concerns about research ethics. When enormous amounts of data are available for analysis, the procedures for making data anonyrnous no longer ensure that it stays that way. For example, in 2006, AOL released (for research purposes) 20 million search queries from 657,000 users after all personal information had been erased and only a unique numeric identifier remained to link searches. Ilowever, staff of The Nru York Times conducted analyses of sets of search queries and were able to quickly identi{, a specific



individual user by name and location, based on the searches. The collection of big data also makes surveillance and prediction of behavior on a large scale possible. Crime control efforts and screening for terrorists now often involve developing predictions from patterns identi- fied in big data. Without strict rules and close monitoring, potential invasions of privary and unwarranted suspicions are enormous (Mayer-Schtinberger and Cukier 2013).


In our data-driven world, data generally—-and the methods examined in this chapter specifically- are increasingly being used in research and in intelligenceJed policing. For example, using SNA and crime mapping are now common techniques used in large police agencies to not only respond to crime but to also reduce, disrupt, and prevent it. As one police investigator explained,

Any data that we can collate online, whether it be that online evidence that may indi cate the commission of offense or assist in making a nernrs, a link to that offense, such as photographs, emails, text messages. . . . We use any data that we can get our hands on laudrlly, certainly, to assist in our investigations. (Chan and Moses 2017 ,305)

The use of such methodological techniques is requiring police academies to incorporate daa analysis components into their training. So even ifyou do not plan to become a researcher yourself, you will likely be required to make sense of data in virtually any career you pursue. Hopefully, you should now have the knowledge and skills required to find and use secondary data and to review analyses of big data to answer applied criminal justice and criminological research questions.

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Dataset Description

201,2states d’ata,sav This stat€,-level dataset compriles o{fiCial statistics’from varrious offidial sources, such as the census, health department records, and police departments, lt includes basic demographic data, crime rates, and incidence rates for various illnesses and inf ant mortality for entire states.

DescriptionVariable Name


p.e.rr,f’ A m., $ O Ve qt.y The percentage of f am ilies below the poverty line in a state

murderRt The murder rate reported per 100,000 for a state



Week 6 Discussion 1 Ethics

Human experimentation is an ethical issue that exists in criminal justice research. It was

not uncommon for the military to use its own crew members as volunteers for experiments

regarding chemical warfare. In 1944, there was a young Navy man that was subjected to rigorous

testing of chemical agents that yield adverse reactions to his body both internally and externally,

(pcrm.org, n. d.).

The ACJS Code of Ethics would have prevented such brutal treatment of a test subject.

First, full disclosure between the subject and researcher should be completely understood and

full permission must be given prior to experimenting. Minimal harm to the subject is also an

ethical aim when it comes to subjecting people to experimentation. Researchers should inform

participants about any aspects of the research that might change a person’s mind about

participating, such as physical risks, discomfort, and/or unpleasant emotional experiences.

Those found in violation of the ACJS Code of Ethics could result in sanctions all the way

to termination of membership. Basically, all you must do is be a decent human being when

conducting research like one should in everyday life. If decency is a guiding force, ethical issues

won’t be an issue.


Pcrm.org staffers, (n. d.). Human experimentation: an introduction to the ethical issues.

Retrieved from http://www.pcrm.org/research/healthcare-professionals/researchcompendium/human-experimentation-an-introduction-to-the

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