Posts Tagged ‘ethics’
You may have seen this ‘news article’ online a few weeks ago: Men pay more attention to a woman’s hair than her curves. Very few things actually get me to click links these days, but this one did, just because of its absurdity. Who are these ‘men’? I asked myself.
Sure enough, the opening line of the ‘article’ was “In a recent study conducted by Pantene . . .” For those of you who don’t know, Pantene makes shampoo. I read no further, and remained peeved that I had fallen prey to the link. I even complained to a friend that I had done it and he replied that he had too. Only he had followed the link thinking ‘that must have been conducted by some hair product company!’ I was not so smart.
Back when I was an undergrad, my professors always asked me ‘who did the study?’ and I always thought ‘what a stupid question. It’s science, it doesn’t matter.’ But as a grad student I learned that (lo, and behold!) they were right. It does matter.
The graduate lab I worked in had some serious flaws. First, they mocked me for doing my standard deviation math by hand; they had all plugged the data into the computer. I should have gotten the last laugh when I said, “But yours is wrong.” It was, in fact, so wrong that anyone who understood what a standard deviation represented would have seen that theirs was obviously off. But I didn’t get the last laugh: instead, I nearly cried and spent some time perturbed. I would have been perturbed about it longer, but this was thwarted by my professor who asked me to include inadmissible data in the results because it helped support her point.