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Links to my published articles online
List of Publications with Full Citations

Adolescent Diary Weblogs and the Unseen Audience

Conversations in the Blogosphere: An Analysis "from the Bottom Up". Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-38) Best Paper Nominee.

Weblogs as a bridging genre

Bridging the Gap: A Genre Analysis of Weblogs. Winner of the 2004 EduBlog Awards as best paper.

Common Visual Design Elements of Weblogs

Women and Children Last: The Discursive Construction of Weblogs

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The Performativity of Naming: Adolescent Weblog Names as Metaphor

Buxom Girls and Boys in Baseball Hats: Adolescent Avatars in Graphical Chat Spaces

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Last updated July 8, 2005.

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Last Updated November 22, 2005.

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New books are added but reading status is rarely accurate.

October 04, 2005

Psychological pressure on child research subjects, would it happen now?

Well here is another story I can use in my "Ethics and the IRB" presentations to Research Methods classes.  Apparently a study began in 1939 at the University of Iowa where the researcher, the late Wendell Johnson, taught orphaned kids to stutter so he could unravel the mystery of disorder by inducing it in his participants. 

The study came to be known to his graduate research assistants as the "Monster Study."  Which while the press has banged on the idea of creating monsters, the nickname may also have come from the size of the study.  None of the reading I have done this morning gives me quotes from any of the grad students to contextualize the nickname.

When I teach research ethics and IRB's we talk a lot about specific studies and I try to make students understand that many of the projects were considered ethical at the time they were done.  Now of course I am not saying they were right by any means, rather I think it is very easy for us to look at the studies like the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment and say to our selves, "I would never do anything like that."  We overlook that hundred and possibly thousands of people know about the study both within the university, and the federal government, as well as in the research community that read the published material from the study, and until the whistle was blown in 1972, few of those people raised a red flag that anything was wrong with the ethics of the study.  It was culturally accepted that the lowered status, both racial and social, of the participants made them appropriate sacrifices to use in the research.  In other words, I want my students to think long and hard about the ethics of each project they undertake not to cop-out with a blanket thought that they are better then the historical researchers we discuss.  In truth none of us is better nor were most of the historical researchers I use as examples evil monsters in any shape or form.  Most of them were good people trying to do good research.  Think on that for awhile.

This hit my radar, admittedly somewhat belatedly, because of an Inside Higher Ed article about the lawsuits that have emerged after the nature of the "Monster Study" was made known.  Apparently the university has issued an apology but has also tried to argue that no financial redress is appropriate, in the case, since a 1939 state law foreclosed the participants from suing the state.  Well on Friday the Iowa Supreme Court, in the majority opinion,  ruled that "the research subjects had the right to sue because they sought legal relief promptly after learning what had happened, and that no Iowa statutes barred the suit."  This is not a finding on the merits of the case, just on the legal mechanism that will allow the case to progress through the courts.  It should be interesting to watch if the State of Iowa negotiates a settlement with the participants or if the legal system has to step in.

Posted by prolurkr at October 4, 2005 07:15 AM

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