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Case 96. Teaching, Research and Data Collection


Professor Tom Joli routinely teaches an undergraduate research methods course which has a large number of students enrolled, including majors from other departments. He has no teaching assistants assigned to him but believes strongly in a "hands on" approach to teaching and learning. Each year, he assigns students to conduct a research project which involves asking the undergraduates to collect data on purchasing patterns from "a few of their friends", code the surveys and enter the data into the computer. Professor Joli sees this as a way for students to do both collaborative and active learning and as a valuable experience in the "nuts and bolts" of research work. He uses the data as the basis for sole authored papers for presentation at national meetings and for subsequent publication.


  1. What is the quality of this research?
  2. Are the classroom students being exploited? How could proper credit for the collaboration be given?
  3. What are Professor Joli's responsibilities for supervision and instruction to students in the research process? What are the ramifications for other social science researchers on campus?
  4. What are the messages given to students and colleagues about dual-role relationships in research? Are there concerns about the rights of human subjects that Professor Joli is not addressing?

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