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STA630 Research Methods GDB 1 Solution Spring 2013

“The foundation of scientific cooperation is based on mutual trust and when that trust is badly damaged it abolishes the foundation of scientific research.” 

This statement is given by a member of investigating team who was probing a Dutch social psychologist, Diederik Stapel, who had been a darling of the Dutch social psychology community and known for headline-grabbing research. Stapel was fired from university after his fraud was first revealed to public. Stapel’s fraud was uncovered when three graduate students became suspicious of data Stapel supplied them without allowing them to participate in the actual research. When students ran statistical tests on data they found it too perfect to be true and they went to University’s dean with their suspicions. This event was reported to investigating team as well. The report of investigation team exposed that in Stapel’s research fundamental principles ofscientific method were ignored or set aside as irrelevant. Moreover, if experiments which Stapel conducted did not produce the results he wanted, he would repeat them with minor changes and only the results that did meet expectations were reported. 

Later on, Stapel issued a public apology after inquiry found he forged or manipulated data in at least 55 publications. Stapel said he felt “deep, deep regret for what I have inflicted on others. I feel sadness, shame and self-reproach,” he added. “The truth would have been better off without me.”  

Activity: 

Comment on the statement given by investigator. You have to express your opinion predicting whether the statement is emotionally loaded or a balanced statement i.e. Stapel’s act has damaged the trust of whole scientific society or his fraudulent actions has damaged his life only and scientific inquiry is independent of an individual’s act? 

Provide your viewpoints in favor or against of this statement with at least two logical reasons. MArks=20

Solution: I agree with the statement as it is a balanced statement. Such an action not only damages the individual’s image but also damage the trust of whole scientific society. Many other researchers might have inferred the data from fake and false statistics Stapel provided and resulting the many wrong decisions taken by researchers.

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