Ethics

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TEACHING ETHICS THROUGHOUT THE CURRICULUM

Case 32. Statements about Professional Experience

Situation

Franklin Academic was working with a team of people preparing a proposal for a government agency to conduct a major longitudinal national survey. Winning this grant would be very significant for the department, providing an opportunity for important research, journal publications, and support for graduate students for several years. Franklin knew that as a junior faculty member, contributing to a successful proposal would benefit his standing in the department and his career. The evaluation criteria allotted 35% of total points to demonstrating prior experience in conducting large-scale longitudinal surveys. This was the weakest area of the proposal team. While the group had capabilities to conduct such a survey and had experience in carrying out small local surveys, no one had conducted longitudinal surveys at the scale of the proposed research.

While a graduate student, Franklin had helped a research team at a different university resolve some statistical analysis questions for a national longitudinal survey. He had written up this experience for the current proposal. The full professor leading the proposal effort, Sarah Tenure, asked Franklin to rewrite this section to place greater emphasis on his role and the depth and significance of his work in that research project. Franklin was quite upset with this suggestion; he felt he was being pressured to overstate his experience to increase the chance of winning the proposal.

Questions

  1. Should Franklin embellish his description of his past experience suggesting he played a larger role than he actually performed?
  2. Should Franklin accuse the professor of unethical conduct and/or file a complaint with the ASA Committee on Professional Ethics?
  3. What are other possible options open to Franklin?

Reflect on the above questions and form your own answers before clicking the discussion key to review the commentary provided with this case.

 

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