Case 04. Misuse of Data
Dr. Elizabeth Johnson is a sociologist who heads a public policy institute within a large state university. The institute wins the state contract to evaluate new state welfare initiatives. The contract stipulates that the social scientists associated with the institute, who make up the evaluation team, will be able to use the data for their own research in addition to using it as the basis for specific state mandated evaluation studies. The initial evaluation studies of the state experiment in welfare reform show no reduction in the number of welfare recipients and suggest some unexpected and dysfunctional aspects of specific aspects of the experiment. In response to these findings the director of the state Department of Health and Human Services writes a letter to the public policy institute nullifying the evaluation contract and directing Johnson to return the data to the state within two weeks. Johnson protests to the Chancellor of his institution who directs her to comply.
1. Does Elizabeth Johnson have an obligation to
inform the public of