Case Studies – Debates about the ethics of the Tearoom Trade Study Methodology. In the ‘s PhD student in sociology Laud Humphreys studied men who. In the ‘s, sociology doctoral student Laud Humphreys conducted the infamous Tearoom Trade Study . Humphreys’ goal was to. Tearoom Trade: Impersonal Sex in Public Places. 2. \; f! ri. ‘; i’. ~j. ~. ” I. I.j. Ij. ‘e.:~ f :’ t. lAUD HUMPHREYS. ‘”,. “,. At shortly after five o’clock on a weekday.
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Laud Humphreys – Wikipedia
Humphreys argued his deception was justified as the acts were so stigmatised he would not have got teaoom information otherwise. Most social scientists tradee that observing people’s acts in public spaces is not unethical, as long as people are not identified. He found certain patterns relating to marital status, employment, and behavior.
If the police had got hold of Humphreys’ data or tarde the identities of the men involved had been revealed, they would have been severely stigmatised, their family lives ruined, they could have lost their jobs, or even been arrested and imprisoned. Firstly, Humphreys believed that a scientist should never neglect an area of study or phenomenon because it was difficult to investigate or inherently socially sensitive.
Entering and exiting a tearoom quickly and efficiently resulted in less explaining that a man needed to provide to his family in order to justify his absences.
Humphreys hearoom his role to some of those he observed, but he noted that those who tended to talk with him openly were better educated; as he continued his research, he decided to conceal his identity in order to avoid response bias.
Humphreys wanted to understand the relationship between these men’s anonymous homosexual acts and their public lives. Tracking and interviewing the subjects provided an opportunity humphregs better understand the rationality the subjects used when engaging in tearoom acts.
Humphreys added a postscript and his views on the opinion tsaroom in the retrospect. He was an invited speaker at more than a dozen symposia and other events, and was a guest on four TV shows. Laud Humphreys received his divinity degree from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary and spent fourteen years in the ministry of the Episcopal Church.
He is often studied in research methods classes for the ethical questions that his works raised.
Following the release of his study, police arrests of homosexuals and raids on tearooms actually decreased in frequency, exemplifying how the understanding of human nature benefits everyone. Others have said no researcher should have such power over others, no matter how good their intentions are. Tearoom Trade, Enlarged Edition: He also bore witness to their illegal activity.
Humphreys noted that the first challenge to studying tearooms was locating the facilities frequented by the subjects.
Other editions – View all Tearoom Trade: Around the time Humphreys conducted his study, many superhighways were being constructed, and the rest stops along these roads provided ideal tearoom facilities due to their numerous locations and ease of accessibility. Retrieved June 20, This enticed certain subjects to visit tearooms because they offered a cheaper alternative to the costs of rearing an unexpected child with his wife or the costs of paying for a prostitute and a hotel room.
He is noted for his research into sexual encounters between men in public bathrooms, published as Tearoom Trade and for the questions that emerged from what many believe to be unethical research methods. It is universally acknowledged in scientific communities that openly observing an interaction between two subjects can change the outcome of their interaction. In the event that law enforcement saw fit to arrest Humphreys for conducting this controversial study, the sensitive data he meticulously collected would be demanded by the authorities.
The men involved did not know he was a researcher.
In not identifying himself as a researcher Humphreys argued he was doing nothing wrong, he was merely observing behaviour in public spaces and said he masqueraded as a gay “watch queen” so as not to interfere with the research.
The tearoom activities were impersonal. Secondly, Humphreys believed that a scientist should take every possible precaution in order to minimize the degree to which studying a phenomenon distorts its natural occurrence. Often, these men and their wives humphrejs deprived of sexual relations with each other. Prophet of Homosexuality and Sociology.
Research ethics materials wimba 2. He published the dissertation as Tearoom Trade: