Bad Blood: A Case Study of the Tuskegee Syphilis Project

PART I: Directions

Read Fourtner, Fourtner, and Herried (2000) “Bad Blood: A case study of the Tuskegee Syphilis Project”. While reading, create a timeline of events of the project and then answer the following questions.


Compare your timeline of the Syphilis Project to the timeline of ethical protocols from the NIH training (see below).

Which ethical protocols did the researchers violate and how? (use outside sources if needed, but cite them)

Evaluate the study using our current ethical principles. Which principles were violated and how?

What was the original researchers’ purpose and hypothesis? Did it change over time?

Who were the target population of the Syphilis Study? Who did they sample?

How did they recruit subjects?

What would have been a more ethical way to recruit subjects?

Was there any pre-existing experimenter bias?

What could have been done to avoid this conflict of interest?