Chapter 2 Sex Research: Methods and Problems Goals
Chapter 2 Sex Research: Methods and Problems Goals of Sexology The study of sexuality Goal is to: Understand sexual behavior Predict sexual behavior
Control / Influence sexual behavior Ethical considerations when controlling behavior Is applying research findings to control or modify behavior a legitimate aim of sex research? Early Sexuality Research Variety of disciplines
Focus on abnormal and unhealthy practices Victorian period (19th century) suspended sexuality research until physicians made it an appropriate topic as related to medicine Primarily studied in Germany Early Sexuality Research Early 20th century it earned legitimacy with Freud,
Ellis, and Bloch Moved to the United States in 1920s, encouraged by the social hygiene movement Limited funding for research Recent Sexuality Research Late 1980s, early 1990s increase in sexuality research
Prompted by HIV/AIDS Primarily problem-driven research, not healthy sexuality Pressure from conservative groups Multiple disciplines studying sex has fragmented research Recent Sexuality Research
Popular media sensationalizes and distorts information Sexologist researcher, educator, clinician specializing in sexuality; usually PhD Researchers feel pressure to research select topics and avoid others Academic programs specializing in human sexuality; need steady funding
Sexuality Researchers Early promoters of sexology: Bloch, Moll, Hirschfeld, Krafft-Ebing, Ellis Sexuality research in the United States: Mosher, Bement Davis, Kinsey, Hunt, Masters & Johnson, Hooker, Bell & Weinberg, Janus & Janus, Laumann et al. Age-specific studies: teens, seniors
Early Promoters of Sexology Bloch (1872-1922): Published the Journal of Sexology beginning 1914 Moll (1862-1939): In 1913, began the International Society for Sex Research; authored sexology books Hirschfeld (1868-1935): Worked to better the
treatment of homosexuals and bisexuals; developed an Institute for Sexology Early Promoters of Sexology Krafft-Ebing (1840-1902): Sexual pathology Ellis (1859-1939): Published six-volume work on sexuality; refuted deviance of homosexuality and masturbation
All early researchers legitimized the study of sexuality Findings lacked consistency and organization Sexuality Research Moves to the United States Two pioneering female researchers: Mosher (1863-1940): First to ask Americans about their sexual behavior; helped married
women have better sex lives Bement Davis (1861-1935): Prostitution and STIs; homosexuality is not abnormal Alfred Kinsey (1894-1956) implemented the first large-scale survey of adult sexual behavior in the United States. Kinsey: Large Scale Sexuality Research Begins in the U.S. Most influential modern sexuality researcher
Atheoretical in the beginning because data on sexuality was lacking He and 3 colleagues interviewed 18,000 subjects to obtain sexual life histories Preferred use of 100% sampling 1947, established the Institute for Sex Research Kinsey: Large Scale Sexuality Research Begins in the U.S.
1948: Sexual Behavior in the Human Male 1953: Sexual Behavior in the Human Female Found many unacceptable activities to be widely practiced Controversial work; had funding sources taken away Sexuality Research in the United States
Hunt: Playboy Foundation study of American sexual behaviors (1974); volunteer bias Virginia Johnson and William Masters were the first to bring sexuality into the laboratory. Sexuality Research in the United States Masters & Johnson: In 1954, began to study
the anatomy and physiology of intercourse in the laboratory Electrocardiograph Electromyograph Penile strain gauges Photoplethysmographs Changes in penile erection and vaginal lubrication were measured with penile strain gauges and photoplethysmographs.
Sexuality Research in the United States Masters & Johnson: Human Sexual Response (1966) Four stage model Women may have multiple orgasms Sexuality stays with us as we age
Masters & Johnson: Human Sexual Inadequacy (1970) Vaginal orgasms from clitoral stimulation Sexuality Research in the United States: Homosexuality Few large-scale studies Hooker: Early 1950s; professionals could not differentiate gay and straight males
Bell & Weinberg: Homosexualities (1978) majority of homosexual men and women do not conform to stereotypes arent sexual predators homosexuals and heterosexuals are similar in intimate relationships Sexuality Research in the United States
The Janus Report (1993): large survey on sexual behavior in the U.S.; sectioned out regions in the U.S.; not a random sample National Health and Social Life Survey, Laumann, Gagnon, Michael, & Michaels (1994): Surveyed a representative sample of the U.S. on sexual behaviors and attitudes
Sexuality Research in the United States: Age-Specific Studies Teens National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (2002) National Survey of Adolescent Males (2002) Seniors Starr & Weiner (1981): Sexuality still important
for seniors Love, Sex, and Aging (1984) A Summary of Research Methods Non-Experimental Research Methods: Case Studies Single subject or small group Each studied individually and in depth
Data gathered using: Direct observation Questionnaires Testing Experimentation Non-experimental Research Methods: Case Study Advantages:
In depth explorations Flexibility in data gathering procedures Disadvantages: Hard to generalize results Often based on retrospective self-report Not suitable for many research questions Non-experimental Research Methods: Survey Methods
Small to large samples of people Data gathered using: Face-to-face interviews Questionnaires Can be computerized or distributed online Choosing the Sample Representative sample
Random sample Non-experimental Research Methods: Survey Methods Advantages: Questionnaires: anonymity may improve honesty, cheaper Interviews: more flexible, rapport, may improve clarity & understanding
Disadvantages: Non-response Demographic bias Inaccurate information Non-experimental Research Methods: Survey Methods Examples: The Kinsey Reports
The National Health and Social Life Survey The National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior The Youth Risk Behavior Survey Violent Pornography and Alcohol Use survey Non-experimental Research Methods Outcome from Survey Data Non-experimental Research Methods:
Direct Observation Studies Small to moderate samples Observe and record responses of subjects - Reliability increases with representative sample and accuracy of recording devices Advantages: Eliminates possibility of falsification Records can be kept indefinitely
Disadvantages: Self-selection, behavior influenced by observers, expense The Experimental Method: Procedures Small to moderate samples: Independent variable Condition or component that is manipulated
Dependent variable Outcome or resulting behavior Reliability and validity increase with: Random selection Random assignment The Experimental Method
Advantages: Lowers the influence of other variables Can establish cause-effect relationships Disadvantages: Being measured may affect actions Artificiality of laboratory setting Technologies in Sex Research Electronic devices for measuring sexual arousal
Measuring Sexual Arousal Technologies in Sex Research Computer assisted self-interview (CASI) - Eliminates literacy issues and negative impact of interviewer; participants may prefer over face-to-face interview Research in Cyberspace
Advantages: Cheaper and more efficient; nearly limitless survey pool Disadvantages: sample selection bias, low response rates; privacy and ethical issues Ethical Guidelines for Human Sex Research No pressure or coercion for participation Informed consent and voluntary participation
Confidentiality and anonymity Question of deception Institutional ethics review Evaluating Research: Questions to Ask Why was the research done? Who did the research? What are their credentials? What biases are there? Who were the participants? How were they selected &
assigned to groups? How was the research conducted? What methods were used? Where was the research reported? What additional support is there?
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