Bogus Pipeline: Valid Procedure or a “Ghostly Dream”? (Discussions in Social Sciences)

Bogus Pipeline:
Valid Procedure or a “Ghostly Dream”? (Discussions in Social Sciences)

Myagkov A.Yu.

Dr. Sci. (Sociol.), Рrof., Ivanovo State Power Engineering University, Ivanovo, Russia

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For citation:

Myagkov A.Yu. Bogus Pipeline: Valid Procedure or a “Ghostly Dream”? (Discussions in Social Sciences). Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2020. No 3. P. 121-130


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. The advantages and disadvantages of the method, its capabilities and limitations are evaluated. The problems of validity, statistical efficiency and ethical acceptability of the BPL, the subject of ongoing scientific controversy, are discussed. The main factors influencing the effectiveness of the method are highlighted. The possibilities of two versions of BPL (classical and verbal) in stimulating sincere answers are compared. As a result, 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 foreign empirical studies. The ethical aspects of BPL are discussed in terms of two theoretical perspectives: deontological and utilitarian. The arguments of the polemic parties are analyzed. The ethical correctness of the method and its practical applicability is proved not only in social and psychological studies, but also in mass sociological surveys.

bogus pipeline procedure (BPL); survey research; experiment; sincerity of answers; social desirability; validity of data4 ethical acceptability of BPL
Content No 3, 2020