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Peer Review

The Stanford Prison Experiment



Overall Numeric Rating:

4.8 stars
Content Quality: 4.8 stars
Effectiveness: 4.8 stars
Ease of Use: 4.8 stars
Reviewed: Oct 21, 2005 by Business Editorial Board
Overview: This module is based on an experiment conducted at Stanford University. It was
designed to demonstrate the effect of situational forces in prison on personal
identities. It examines the situation regarding the values and morality of
prisoners, guards, and other prison personnel and the relationships that

The site provides a complete look at the famous Stanford Prison Experiment run
by Philip Zimbardo, supported with video clips and photographs of the actual
events. Discussion questions are provided as well as links to related
materials, including connections to events at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Type of Material: Textual material organized chronologically, tracing the experiment from
conception through completion and follow-up. Video clips and photos of actual
events complement the textual material. Discussion questions are provided to
direct learning. Text of an interview and video concerning connections between
the Prison Experiment and events at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq are also provided.
The module is a simulation study of the psychology of imprisonment on the
Recommended Uses: It is recommended that this material be used as a group or team activity with
individuals who are mixed racially, culturally and economically. This should
enable individuals with different experiences, values and beliefs to share and
express varying points of view. They will engage in discussions about the
information and make conclusions based on the interpretations, conflicts, etc.
Parallel situations are included in this site to enable teams and/or individuals
to observe and discuss the conclusion, similarities, differences, and
Technical Requirements: Internet access and browser
Identify Major Learning Goals: The major learning goal is to develop an understanding of the effect of prison
on all its constituents such as prisoners, guards, and prison administrators.
Target Student Population: The target student population is graduate and undergraduate students of general
and applied psychology, sociology, criminal justice, politics, and prison
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: This does not require a prerequisite. Knowledge of general psychology,
principles of sociology, and criminal justice will be beneficial to users.
Political science and religious studies students who have an interest in
criminal justice are potential users.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.8 stars
Strengths: The module is clear, current, relevant, and focuses on the simulation.
It provides access to recent parallel situations with similar issues. The
content is accurate and gives an excellent summary of the study shown in the
slides. It also provides a description and demonstration of the concept and has
an adequate amount of material. The material is not overwhelming.
Concerns: None

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.8 stars
Strengths: This module can be a very effective teaching tool. Links to other sites
validate the study and provide comparative materials for discussions and/or
assigned written tasks. The site has primary sources such as the simulation,
articles, and forums. The simulation builds on previous concerns about the
issues by showing the effects of the interrelationships. Students should be
able to easily use the site with the slides and available links to locate the
information required to prepare assignments/tasks.

The site encourages discussion with its direct link to discussion topics as well
as having topics dispersed among the slides. There are also links that make
the module available in five languages.

In addition to being a resource for the classroom, the module can be used to
provide information to students who are interested in the topic. Those persons
may include individuals who receive information about prisoner abuses and
want to understand the system, and those who are involved in
making related policies.
Concerns: None

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.8 stars
Strengths: The design of the site is simple. Its clear links to other pages and related
sites, makes it easy for users to navigate. It is engaging, and allows
interested users to interact with each other by using electronic forums.

Other Issues and Comments: This is a very professionally developed and put together site.