Friday, May 29, 2015

MSNBC: widely-reported gay marriage study may be bogus

UCLA grad student Michael LaCour's coauthor, Donald Green, has requested a retraction by the journal Science of their paper after LaCour's lawyer admitted that his client lied. The study claimed that short conversations by canvassers about gay marriage could change the views of people on the issue.
     The journal Science said it was looking into the allegations. In the meantime, it published an "Editorial Expression of Concern" to alert readers to the fact that the paper might be bogus.
     The study — which was picked up by many media outlets — claimed a 20-minute conversation with a gay canvasser produced a big change in attitudes toward same-sex marriage, and that the shift in thinking could last for nine months.

     The Stanford researchers said that when they contacted the survey firm LaCour supposedly used, it knew nothing about the project and they discovered the staffer they thought had carried out the work didn't even exist.
     Green said that when LaCour was confronted, he refused to turn over contact information for the survey respondents and claimed the raw data had been accidentally deleted.
     LaCour's lawyer has confirmed two false statements in the published study: that survey respondents were given cash incentives to participate, and that funding was provided by a number of well-known non-profits.

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