Bogus Pipeline: Valid Procedure or «Ghostly Dream»? (Discussions in Social Sciences)

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Full Prof.
Affiliation: Ivanovo State Power Engineering University
Address: Russian Federation, Ivanovo
Journal nameSotsiologicheskie issledovaniya
EditionIssue 3

The article is devoted to analysis of the bogus pipeline (BPL) procedure in the context of half a century of methodological discussions in modern social sciences. The method, first proposed by E. Jones and G. Sigal in 1971, is intended to reduce social desirability and obtain more reliable responses of subjects in psychological and sociological studies. A detailed description of this method and its basic organizational and technical versions are given. Advantages and disadvantages of the method, its capabilities and limitations are evaluated. Problems of validity, statistical efficiency and ethical acceptability of the BPL, as subject of ongoing scientific controversy, are discussed. The main factors influencing the effectiveness of the method are highlighted. Comparing possibilities of two versions of BPL (classical and verbal) in stimulating sincere answers it is stated that the verbal modification of the method, based on the expectation of a possible verification of respondents' self-reports, can be no less successful than its classical version. The high productivity of this version in the study of sensitive issues in various thematic areas of social knowledge and research practice is justified on the materials of many empirical studies. The BPL ethical aspects are discussed in terms of two theoretical perspectives: deontological and utilitarian. The arguments of the polemic parties are analyzed. Ethical correctness of the method and its practical applicability is proved not only in social and psychological studies, but also in mass sociological surveys.

Keywordsbogus pipeline procedure (BPL), survey research, experiment, sincerity of answers, social desirability, validity of data, ethical acceptability of BPL
Publication date16.03.2020
Number of characters28224
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