Milgram’s work showed that when people are put in a situation where they have to obey orders given by an authority figure, they will do so, even if the task goes against their ethical beliefs. I wanted to observe the obedience of pupils when reading an order on a sign when written by either an authority figure or another pupil. Research aim: To find out if people will obey temporary signs on a drink vending machine in a Sixth Form common room, written by an authority figure and a school pupil. Hypothesis:
Pupils will obey the sign written by an authority figure and disobey the sign when written a school pupil. Null Hypothesis: There will be no difference in obedience between the signs written by the authority figure and school pupil Variables: The independent variable was whom the signs were written by. The dependent variable was whether the pupil obeyed the signs or not. Population: Sixth Form pupils (16 and over), in UK. Sample: An opportunity sample of 40 Sixth Form pupils from a secondary school in Letchworth per lunch hour.
They included male and female subjects, ranging from 16 to 18 years old. Method: Over the period of one lunch hour, it was observed how many Sixth Form pupils purchased drinks from the one drink vending machine in the Sixth Form common room. This was used as the control condition to make me aware of the number of people who would have to obey the sign. Permission was gained from the Head of Sixth Form to place a sign stating “Not to be used by Sixth Form during this lunch period” on the vending machine.
For the first condition, this sign was signed by a member of the Sixth Form. Over the lunch period, the first 40 pupils to use the drink vending machine were observed to see how many obeyed the sign. The following lunch period, the sign was replaced with one that was signed by the Head of Sixth Form, and again the first 40 pupils were observed to see how many obeyed this sign. The results were recorded following each lunch period.