10-2 Discussion: Scientific Integrity in Psychology

Describe your reaction to the readings this week (ONE ATTACHED, ONE IS LINK BELOW). More specifically, what, if anything, did you find particularly interesting or surprising? What do you think is the biggest threat to scientific integrity in psychology, and what are some ways that it could be remedied?

When responding to your classmates, provide your perspective on scientific integrity and offer other suggestions for how the identified threat could be remedied.

To complete this assignment, review the Discussion Rubric document.

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2012/sep/13/scientific-research-fraud-bad-practice

AFTER COMPLETING THE INITIAL DISCUSSION POST, PLEASE ALSO RESPOND TO THE FOLLOWING TWO STUDENTS REGARDING THE SAME TOPIC!

STUDENT ONE:

This week’s reading was very interesting, I was wondering about this topic earlier when I was doing research for my hypothesis. When conducting research it is easy to conduct biased research, meaning only finding and citing sources that work in your paper’s favor rather than also citing sources to challenge or questions the hypothesis. With this thought, I also thought about how the research may be biased because of people conducting research experiments in their favor as well. It is easy to interview or survey people who you know will answer in support or against a perspective, this is why random sampling or larger sampling pools are needed. We like to thing all of the peer-reviewed journals, research and experiments are reliable. However, as we learned in this wee’s reading they are not. Psychologists should be honest, moral and ethical to share information to better the world and people, however they are faced with challenges and put in positions where they may make questionable decisions. “QRPs are the steroids of scientific competition, artificially enhancing performance and producing a kind of arms race in which researchers who strictly play by the rules are at a competitive disadvantage” (John, Loewenstein & Prelec, 2012, p. 524). QRP means questionable research practices, this quote really made me think because the field of psychology is extremely competitive. Everyone wants to publish an experiment, make a difference, prove a point, add to science, help people, share their knowledge, etc. However, not everyone gets to. Experiments need funding, hypotheses need proof, research needs to be relevant and of interest and so on. Which is why some people may use questionable research practices or even completely falsify public statements, to get attention and more resources to keep researching. It is not right, however as we learned it is common because that is how the playing field works to have an advantage or a chance to get somewhere in their careers.

Resources

John, L. K., Loewenstein, G., & Prelec, D. (2012). Measuring the Prevalence of Questionable Research Practices With Incentives for Truth Telling. Psychological Science, 23(5), 524–532. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797611430953

STUDENT TWO:

John, Loewenstein and Prelec have an interesting study. They surveyed 2,000 psychologists to ask about questionable research practices QRPs (2012). It was astonishing to read this because I thought about what a study would be like if researchers asked lawyers if they felt they helped someone get out of jail time even if they knew they were guilty, or a doctor if they feel they were involved in malpractice but never reported or never were convicted. The authors reported that approximately 94% of the participants admitted to one QRP (2012). Alok Jha’s journal states that 72% participants reported colleagues had questionable research practices (2012). This was rather surprising to see how inflated some of the results were to support a hypothesis. John, Loewenstein and Prelec’s study reported that “failing to report all dependent measures, collecting more data after seeing whether results were significant, and selectively reporting studies that “worked”” were among the three highest QRPs (2012, p. 527).

It appears that researchers are influencing their results by gathering more data to support their claim, failing to report dependent measures that would dispute their claim or using a selective process to justify their hypothesis. In terms of the “biggest threat to scientific integrity in psychology”, it is difficult to say which QRP will have the largest impact on research. Consider how people react to social media, political statements, or celebrities. It does not matter the exact cause; people try to find ways to diminish the work of others even if there was only one violator or if the offense minor. Gaining trust back is difficult once lost. To remedy the situation, it calls for stricter review of data and reports. Scrutinization of journals through proper vetting is the only way to ensure these QRP do not occur again through deterring violations.

References

Alok Jha, S. C. (2012). False positives: Fraud and misconduct are threatening scientific research. Retrieved July 31, 2019, from https://www.theguardian.com/science/2012/sep/13/sc…

John, L. K., Loewenstein, G., & Prelec, D. (2012). Measuring the Prevalence of Questionable Research Practices With Incentives for Truth Telling. Psychological Science, 23(5), 524–532. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797611430953

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