Since humans have existed, homosexuality has played a part in society. However, it is not until recently that it has become a subculture that was accepted by society, albeit reluctantly so. The history of homosexuality includes centuries of defining the behavior as deviant, and punishing those who partake. In fact, in many cultures around the world, it is not accepted as a right, and the behavior is prohibited. Many factors influence one’s individual acceptance of homosexual behavior, and scientists have studied for years to discover the cause, or causes of homosexuality. Many theories have surfaces, such as homosexuality having a biological cause, or the behavior itself is a personal choice made by the individual. One particular question that is common, however, is “does sexual abuse in children play a role in future homosexuality?” So far, this question has not been answered by scientific research, and there is much debate among scientists as well as individuals as to what the causes of homosexuality are. However, the scientific method can play a part in determining whether or not sexual abuse plays a part in whether or not one becomes a homosexual.
In order to determine the appropriateness of researching this topic with the scientific method, the question first is formulated: Does sexual abuse in children lead to homosexuality? The result of this question could have dramatic effects on how we see homosexuality- for instance, if the result of this research shows that every case of homosexuality is a direct result of being abused, it could lead to a great deal of government intervention, in terms of developing more programs preventing sexual abuse. Despite being a relatively accepted subculture in America, it is still a minority which is highly discriminated against, and is still fighting for basic human rights- if the nature of homosexuality is a direct result of an act of abuse, it is preventable and should be looked at as a problem that could possibly be solved through science.
Scientists must first answer some methodological questions in order to answer the question they have posed for research. For instance, which research methods would be appropriate for this particular study? Some of the more common methods of research are the survey, case study, participant observation, and experiments (Perry, 2009). Dr. Alfred Kinsey was one well known scientist who performed research on sexuality between 1938 and 1956, long before homosexuality became an accepted part of American culture. (The Kinsey Institute, 2011). The methods Kinsey employed included collecting sexual histories of various individuals and conducting face to face interviews with over eighteen thousand subjects. This method was flawed, however, because the research subjects were people who volunteered, and thus were not representing all types of society; it is probable that the majority were less conservative people and that wouldn’t have been representative of the population.
The most reliable research method for this question would be the survey. The survey would be a statistical sample, representing various cross sections of society. The use of questionnaires and interviews, detailing the sexual history off all of the subjects, as well as the childhood histories, indicating whether there is a pattern of sexual abuse among those who exhibit any type of other-than-heterosexual behavior. A sampling of the population will be able to show a variety of variables: percentage of the sample who endured some form of childhood abuse, type of abuse, and the percentage of the sample that is homosexual or bisexual. The answers to this may then be able to determine whether or not there is an association between sexual abuse in childhood and homosexuality in adulthood. Finding a relationship among these variables is crucial to answering the question.
With the survey, however, there are some problems with how the data is obtained. How can the scientist be...
References: Ellwood, Charles A. 1931 “Scientific Method in Sociology” Retrieved May 5, 2011 from http://www.jstor.org/pss/3006109
The Kinsey Institute, “Photo History” Retrieved May 5, 2011 from http://www.iub.edu/~kinsey/about/photo-tour.html
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