Planning for future… Evils.

Activity 5: planning for future… Evils.

A Hypothetical Research Proposal by John Russell. 

In this text, I will be writing up a research proposal for discovering, ‘What makes good people commit horrific crimes?’ As I have previously analysed other scientific journals and essays from authorities on this subject I feel I have a basic understanding on how to begin my own research into the reasoning behind people’s motives. Whilst studying similar researches already done into behavior Psychology and the Situation, which I have highlighted in my previous blog on this subject, such as Dr Zimbardo’s Prison Experiment and the Milgram Experiment, I identified various possible reasons why people commit atrocities.

▪   Peer Pressure

▪   Genetics

▪   Situation

In this proposal, I will discuss in which direction to go about my research and to   which research method to utilize to my advantage in gathering my information, on why good people turn bad.

The ideal method that I would of liked to use would have been to preform a social experiment, where by putting people into an actual situation where the previously outlined factors are apparent and will influence their judgment on the situation. Thus showing varying outcomes and results, judging on the people’s personality and the situation. However I feel that this is somewhat out of my capabilities and time scale, therefore I have opted to preform interviews with people who actually have committed such crimes as well as specialist in behavioural psychology and perhaps even some victims of heinous acts, on the reasons and motives of these crimes.

Preforming interviews will allow me to gather first hand accounts of people’s reasons and stories of why they feel and think why they commit such acts. I will be able to assess for my self on wither or not I believe their reasons for committing a crime and how plausible they are. Also I will be able to check on a professional’s account on the crime and whither they believe the reasons too. However the limitations of preforming interviews, hinges on if I am allowed to access the people who have been found guilty of committing a crime. Even if I am permitted to do so, their first hand accounts maybe deceitful, angled in their favor or false entirely making the process of interview them void. The factor of time also weighs in. The amount of time which has elapsed between the crime and their incarceration, may make way for the interviewee to forget some of the specific details of their crime, as well as how they felt at the time causing the details to lack in key information.

Even though there are limitations to this, I feel that having interviews and the first hand accounts would be a great strength to understand in depth why the crime was committed. Another strength to my research would be the professional’s own views on the crime and the reasons behind them. Interviewing an authority on the manner would be a great asset to my research and may lead to many other theories opening up to the research.  I plan to interview the people who have committed crimes of this nature, i.e. prisoners. Professionals on the subject of what makes a person compelled to preform such an act, along with some of the victims of less terrible crimes. If I were actually performing the interviews, I’d imagine it would take a long while to get the verification I would need to access the prison to interview the prisoners about their crimes. So for time scale plan, let’s just pretend that I have already granted permission to the prison and to the offenders I am interested in talking to. I would think that all my interviews would take two – three weeks to do. Then the write up process for all my information I had gathered would take a further month. Along with my information on the subjects and case studies already performed by professionals. This proposal is extremely far fetched; there are numerous points in the process where I could be denied and therefore ruining the remainder of my research. However I believe firmly that this would be the best way to go about gathering the research that I would need to write up my views on the issue of, ‘What makes good people turn bad?’ My concerns, as previously noted about my ambitious proposal, are serious. They really decided wither my research will be successful or not. All permitting however I feel that my research would be successful in creating an understanding of the ideas behind why people commit crimes of such an appalling nature. As for other research methods, I had considered both a Social Experiment and Visual Analysis. However I feel that they have already been utilised to a much greater extent than I could possibly ever consider pursuing.

In conclusion I feel that the approach discussed in this proposal will be the best plan of action for me to undertake to obtain the best information for my research.

‘What happens when good people are put into an evil place? Do they triumph or does the situation dominate their past history and morality?’

   Dr. Philip Zimbardo