Case study 2

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Case Study 2

A group of researchers were interested in examining the effects of heat on aggressive behavior. They examined the same group of individuals during June and again in January. They recorded each individual’s behaviors while engaging in several competitive and cooperative games. Participants were told that they were participating in a study examining behaviors during games. Participants all agreed to participate and were told that they would be contacted twice, once in January and once in June. Once the data was collected, the researchers sent each participant the results of the study. All identifying information had been removed from each person’s data. However, the researchers did know the names of the participants. One of the researchers was a doctoral student and this study was her idea for her dissertation. Her advisor and one other professor on campus were also interested and had helped her with the design of the study. When the manuscript was submitted for publication, the order of authors was the advisor, the doctoral student, and the other professor.

1. Was informed consent obtained? Is informed consent necessary? Why or why not?

2. Were the participants deceived about the true nature of the experiment? If so, was there a good reason to deceive participants?

3. Were the participants debriefed? If not, should they have been debriefed?

4. Was confidentiality breeched in any way?

5. Are there any other questionable ethical practices? Pay special attention to the APA Code of Ethics and Saint Leo University’s Core Values.

6. What, if anything, did the researchers do correctly?

Marco, a second-year graduate student at Research University was furious when he learned that his name had been left off the draft of a journal article which he had worked diligently on during the past year. He helped design the experiment and even collected some of the initial data. “I was promised second authorship,” complained Marco. “I don’t know what happened. Maybe Professor In Charge forgot. He only listed me as fourth author after I complained.” Marco knew that other grad students were collaborating with Prof. In Charge on the project, but two of the co-authors listed on the final draft were added at the last minute suggesting that they had little time to be involved in the project. One was a graduate student who was just finishing up her degree. She was given second authorship. She would be on the job market in the next year. The other was a professor who Marco suspects did little to contribute to the study since he just joined the faculty a few months ago.

1. Is Marco justified in being upset about his place in the list of authors? What reasons might Prof. In Charge have for moving Marco from second to fourth author?

2. If Marco’s suspicions about the graduate student and the professor added to the paper are true, is this an appropriate use of authorship? Whose responsibility is it to determine authorship on this paper?

3. Did Marco do the right thing in complaining to Prof. In Charge? How would you have handled it if you were in the same position as Marco?

4. Imagine that Marco is graduating this year and plans to go on the job market in the next year. Does this change your assessment of the fairness of this situation? Explain.

5. How do the APA Code of Ethics and Saint Leo University’s Core Values apply to this case?

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