Dr. Cortez is interested in the differences between both popular and unpopular children, especially in junior high school. She has developed a way to distinguish children as either popular or unpopular and is currently conducting research in the local junior high schools. She grouped the students by popularity (the students didn’t know which group they were in or what the study was actually about) and then having a class for the popular students and a separate class for the unpopular students. Dr. Cortez is looking forward to the implications of the study because she feels as though the idea of being popular or unpopular is the basis for so many problems in junior high school. She feels as though students that are considered popular do better academically than those students considered unpopular. Therefore, if the students are in the correct class the teacher can teach them accordingly. Along the same lines, the unpopular students are grouped together and therefore can form friendships with students that are similar to them and then they won’t suffer teasing or other social problems. Dr. Cortez has the students in the senior Education classes, who read the study.
What are some ethical concerns about Dr. Cortez’s study?
What are some other traits that students in junior high may be broken into? Can you think of ethical concerns with these groupings also?
Dr. Cortez’s research is in social psychology and so her participants are usually groups. What advice could a clinical psychologist give her based on the clinical psychologist’s views of people as Dr. Bowen’s research in the past couple of years has focused on programs geared at getting students to abstain from using drugs. Her program involves the local police taking prisoners to the middle schools. These prisoners are incarcerated for drug possession or dealing. The prisoners speak to the students on the danger of getting involved with drug use. Dr. Bowen has tried several times to get her research published, but to no avail. She has posted her research on her own website. Some schools have shown interest in the program she developed. They have even decided to implement her program into their school system.
Why do you think Dr. Bowen’s research may have been rejected by the journals?
Can you think of a problem with the school system implementing the program into their school system even though it has not been published?
Put yourself on the school board for one of the school systems. What would you do and what advice would you give to the other school board members?