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Ethics

The widespread misuse and misrepresentation of statistical information often gives the field a bad name. Some say that “numbers don’t lie,” but the people who use numbers to support their claims often do.

A recent investigation of famous social psychologist, Diederik Stapel, has led to the retraction of his articles from some of the world’s top journals including Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Social Psychology, Basic and Applied Social Psychology, British Journal of Social Psychology, and the magazine Science . Diederik Stapel is a former professor at Tilburg University in the Netherlands. Over the past two years, an extensive investigation involving three universities where Stapel has worked concluded that the psychologist is guilty of fraud on a colossal scale. Falsified data taints over 55 papers he authored and 10 Ph.D. dissertations that he supervised.

Stapel did not deny that his deceit was driven by ambition. But it was more complicated than that, he told me. He insisted that he loved social psychology but had been frustrated by the messiness of experimental data, which rarely led to clear conclusions. His lifelong obsession with elegance and order, he said, led him to concoct sexy results that journals found attractive. “It was a quest for aesthetics, for beauty—instead of the truth,” he said. He described his behavior as an addiction that drove him to carry out acts of increasingly daring fraud, like a junkie seeking a bigger and better high. Yudhijit Bhattacharjee, “The Mind of a Con Man,” Magazine, New York Times, April 26, 2013. Available online at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/28/magazine/diederik-stapels-audacious-academic-fraud.html?src=dayp&_r=2&(accessed May 1, 2013).

The committee investigating Stapel concluded that he is guilty of several practices including:

  • creating datasets, which largely confirmed the prior expectations,
  • altering data in existing datasets,
  • changing measuring instruments without reporting the change, and
  • misrepresenting the number of experimental subjects.

Clearly, it is never acceptable to falsify data the way this researcher did. Sometimes, however, violations of ethics are not as easy to spot.

Researchers have a responsibility to verify that proper methods are being followed. The report describing the investigation of Stapel’s fraud states that, “statistical flaws frequently revealed a lack of familiarity with elementary statistics.” “Flawed Science: The Fraudulent Research Practices of Social Psychologist Diederik Stapel,” Tillburg University, November 28, 2012, http://www.tilburguniversity.edu/upload/064a10cd-bce5-4385-b9ff-05b840caeae6_120695_Rapp_nov_2012_UK_web.pdf (accessed May 1, 2013). Many of Stapel’s co-authors should have spotted irregularities in his data. Unfortunately, they did not know very much about statistical analysis, and they simply trusted that he was collecting and reporting data properly.

Many types of statistical fraud are difficult to spot. Some researchers simply stop collecting data once they have just enough to prove what they had hoped to prove. They don’t want to take the chance that a more extensive study would complicate their lives by producing data contradicting their hypothesis.

Questions & Answers

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the product of force and time
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p=mv
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angular displacement = l/r
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l stands for linear displacement and l>>r
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r stands for radius or position vector of particle
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pure chemistry is related to classical and basic concepts of chemistry while applied Chemistry deals with it's application oriented concepts and procedures.
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when any particle rotates or revolves about something , an axis or point ,then angle traversed is angular displacement
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o need this application in French language
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the study of matter in relation to energy
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Ampher law
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multiply by 3.6
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then
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Atomic theory,
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v=d/t
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mole
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vector is quantity, that has magnitude and direction
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Source:  OpenStax, Statistics i - math1020 - red river college - version 2015 revision a - draft 2015-10-24. OpenStax CNX. Oct 24, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11891/1.8
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