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Studying Racial Bias

Too Hot to Handle?


Jane Marantz Connor
Psychology Department
Binghamton University


Students evaluate a research proposal to determine if it is consistent with ethical principles and federal guidelines for conducting research with human subjects. The case can be taught either as a discussion case or using role-playing.  This case was developed to be used in a seminar on prejudice and racism. It could also be used in a general diversity course, research methods course, or social psychology course.

  • Learn about the role of Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) in protecting the welfare of research participants.
  • Illustrate the major areas of concern that IRBs address in their reviews of proposed research: informed consent, risks, and benefits.
  • Discover the differences in perspectives between those with and without power in society and the subjectivity of the judgments that the IRB must make.
  • Clarify the difference between individual racism and institutional racism.
  • Develop listening skills and analytical skills as well as an appreciation for different values and perspectives.
  • Illustrate how research can be used both to increase our understanding of human behavior and make societal changes to address issues of social justice.
Keywords: Racial bias; racism; research methods; human subject; informed consent; beneficence; confidentiality; deception; Institutional Review Board; IRB; experimental design
Topical Area: Ethics, Legal issues, Scientific method, Social issues, Social justice issues
Educational Level: Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division, Graduate
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Analysis (Issues), Discussion, Role-Play
Language: English
Subject Headings: Psychology   Science (General)   Sociology  
Date Posted: 03/11/00
Date Modified: N/A
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

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