I write this letter to draw your attention to some ethical issues that may be violated if you decide to edit some of the research findings. The objective of the study was to determine the effectiveness of the two types of therapy treatments and decide which of them was better. We developed a hypothesis that one of the treatments will be superior to the other. However, after we had carried out the research and analyzed the data, we found out they had equal treatment efficiency.
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I know you are concerned about the researches and would like to change them to determine which one is better. If you decide to change the findings, you will be violating the set ethical guidelines in data analysis. I wish to tell you about several ethical standards in data analysis; this will help you to change your mind about altering the research findings.
The first ethical standard is professionalism. This requires one to be focused and rational in his or her decisions. Having decided to manipulate the collected data, you will be acting unprofessionally since you have allowed your personal feelings to affect your view of the research. Kindly avoid deceptively or force statements when making your research conclusions (American Psychological Association, 1999). Research ethics demands a researcher to make an honest conclusion.
You should act diligently and follow the set standards by reporting the factual findings of the research (Kromrey, 1993). If you insist that the data must be manipulated, your skills and competence in data analysis will be questionable.
The second ethical consideration is quality and integrity. The conclusion should be made only according to the data collected (Kromrey, 1993). This ethical standard requires one to make the conclusion based on the analyzed information, but not on one’s thoughts and feelings. The fundamental principles of integrity are honesty and trust. Also, it is important to note that a researcher is responsible for his or her testimony and publication (American Psychological Association, 2010). Based on this ethical standard you should ensure that the information you wish to provide is accurate and useful for other researchers.
You should observe these principles and report the actual findings of the research. If you decide to recommend one therapy against the other, it will badly affect the market of the one you’ve reported. If later it is discovered that you’ve manipulated the data − I can assure you people will find out − it will affect your future career, and you may lose your job. As a researcher, one is required to remain objective and avoid subjective reasoning for effective research (Kromrey, 1993).
I wish to refer you to the Bible in the book of Proverbs 2: 20-21. The scripture says, “So you will walk in the way of the good and keep to the paths of the righteous. For the upright will inhabit the land and those with integrity will remain in it…,” it is clear that you ought to change your mind about this issue. This verse may be applied in this case since you have failed to be honest and maintain integrity in your work. As a believer in Christ, the verse challenged me to write this letter to you to inform you of the consequences of dishonesty. Kindly remember that any data manipulation in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) research, may lead to misdiagnosis of the patients (Nolan & Heinzen, 2014).
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I believe, after reading this letter and going through the ethical requirements for data analysis, you will change your mind. Besides, kindly read the above verse and integrate it with your principles. Let us all follow the set of ethical standards in data analysis. I look forward to seeing your mind changed as we hear your research presentation.
Ethical Guidelines for Statistical Practice. (1999). Committee on Professional Ethics, American Statistical Association.
Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. (2010). American Psychological Association.
Kromrey, J. (1993). Ethics and Data Analysis. Educational Researcher, 22(4), 24-27.
Nolan, S. & Heinzen, T. (2014). Essentials of Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences (2nd ed.). New York: Worth Publishers.