In terms of research's ability to distinguish between selfish motivations for helping and truly altruistic motivations?
1. In your handout, different opinions are given to this question. In my perspective, the strongest arguments lie with "no" it is unlikely that research can distinguish between selfish motivations for altruism. Research (particularly in the lab) can only draw conclusions based on behavior not on motivation. We can only infer motivation by observing behavior (see page 6 of your handout- Batson and Coke (1981) have recently proposed a technique for doing this). Again, we can only INFER not draw any conclusive conclusions.
2. Another difficulty in research on altruism is defining altruistic motivation. As indicated in your handout, ...
Analysis of an article on altruism