Faked survey results:

From the Washington Post:

A survey a judge cited in his decision to move Scott Peterson’s capital murder trial out of Modesto contained made-up information, criminal justice students who conducted the survey told a newspaper.

The 10-county survey suggested that more jurors without bias could be found in the San Francisco Bay area or Southern California than in Stanislaus County, which includes Modesto, home town of Peterson’s slain wife, Laci.

But several of the California State University, Stanislaus students who compiled the report told The Modesto Bee they used a lot of fake information because it had been too hard to gather all the data properly. The students requested anonymity, the paper said. . . .

For more on the story, see here and here. Some polling experts say, probably correctly, that the professor should have supervised the students better, and not required them to call on their own time and money — not because the students’ conduct is excusable, but because it was foreseeable, and the professor had a duty to the users of his survey to try to deter even inexcusable misconduct by the students.

     Oh, and here’s something pretty annoying:

One of the seven unidentified students said Friday, “I’m really disappointed in the school. They never said how Dr. Schoenthaler didn’t have permission to do this and they seemed more upset with the students. It wasn’t an approved assignment.”

A self-described spokesperson for the unidentified students said Friday that they are worried about backlash for their whistle-blowing, but continue to stand behind the decision.

Oh, how disappointing! The administration is more upset with students who cheated than with a professor who supposedly violated an internal administrative Human Subjects Review rule (1) that’s aimed at protecting survey subjects, not at protecting the surveytakers or the accuracy of the survey, and (2) that would have been largely superfluous at protecting the survey subjects here, because the research project had none of the attributes (e.g., administration of medical procedures, questioning about embarrassing information, danger of revelation of private data, etc.) that justify Human Subjects Review requirements. So the professor’s violation, if it was a violation (I don’t know the details of how broadly applicable the CSU rule is), is a very small thing compared to the students’ misconduct.

     And “whistle-blowing”? Does the connotation of that term really apply to the situation when someone alerts the press about his own cheating (and, incidentally, tries to avoid any punishment for it)? Does the connotation of “backlash” really cover the possibility that a cheater would be punished for his cheating?

     Thanks to How Appealing for the pointer.

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