Constructively Critique Their Letter On Ethical Concerns

Imagine you are their supervisor and that they have given you the letter they intend to give to their research partner, in order to receive your feedback before sending it.

Constructively critique their letters separately(NEED ONE FOR BOTH LETTER 1 AND LETTER 2), including both 1) what they have explained and supported well and 2) what you would suggest that they add or change. Use information you have learned during the course, other courses/readings, and the sources

1. Ethical Guidelines for Statistical Practice. (1999). Committee on Professional Ethics, American Statistical Association. (Required sections: Part I (“Preamble”), and Part II (Ethical Guidelines, Sections A, C, E, F, and G) (attached).

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2. Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. (2010). American Psychological Association. (Required sections: Standard 5.01 and Standards 8.10 through 8.15)

above to help form your critique.

Important Considerations:

A. Because you are taking on a role and writing letters, this discussion board prompt leaves no room for comments such as the following, which will result in loss of points:

1. “Great job on your discussion post,”

2. “I totally agree with everything you said,”

3. “Good luck in the rest of the class,” etc.

B. The word count may not include text from this prompt or direct quotes from classmates’ posts. If you include this type of material, make sure that you have enough words to reach the minimum word count without it.

Letter 1

Dear Ms. Smith,

I want to formally address your suggestion to manipulate the data that was found in our research study on the effects of two different types of therapy on combat-related PTSD symptoms. I have carefully thought over your idea and have looked over two reliable scholarly sources in order to help me determine the appropriate course of action. After having done so, it has been made apparent to me that manipulating the data found in our research is unethical and we would not be holding ourselves to the high expectations of integrity that is involved in research and statistics. According to the Ethical Guidelines for Statistical Practice (2016), “The ethical statistician uses methodology and data that are relevant and appropriate, without favoritism or prejudice, and in a manner intended to produce valid, interpretable, and reproducible results.” According to this ethical guideline, as statisticians, we are to use data that is relevant and appropriate and that is not manipulated and construed to favor a particular result. Wanting to make some “small changes” to the data we found in order to make our preferred therapy treatment appear more successful would violate this ethical guideline as we would be favoring one result and we would also produce invalid results. Another guideline found in the Ethical Guidelines for Statistical Practice (2016) states that “The ethical statistician is candid about any known or suspected limitations, defects, or biases in the data that may impact the integrity or reliability of the statistical analysis. Objective and valid interpretation of the results requires that the underlying analysis recognizes and acknowledges the degree of reliability and integrity of the data.” Deliberately altering the results of our study would also undermine this ethical guideline as we would not be candid about the defects and biases in the data that would most definitely impact the reliability of the analysis. Furthermore, after reviewing the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (2010), it has come to light in section 5.01 that “Psychologists do not knowingly make public statements that are false, deceptive, or fraudulent concerning their research.” If we were to knowingly publish manipulated and false data regarding our research, we would be defying this specific code of conduct. Not only does your suggestion to manipulate the data that we worked so hard to find prove unethical, it undermines how important the issue of combat-related PTSD is. Soldiers who are suffering from the horrifying symptoms of PTSD need help and if they were to see the results of our manipulated study then they may choose the incorrect course of action in helping themselves get the help that they deserve. A Scripture that comes to mind when discussing integrity and honesty reads, “The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy” (Proverbs 12:22, New International Version). This verse is so powerful in saying that God takes pride and delights in those who tell the truth, those who do not attempt to alter information to get ahead in their career or any place else. I feel that manipulating the data we found in our study is not something that we should do or consider doing on any further research. In conclusion, I do not agree with your suggestion to make some “small changes” to the data in an attempt to make our preferred treatment appear more successful.

Thank you for your time,

Letter 2


Dear Madam,

I am writing to you regarding our recent study on the effects that two specific types of therapy have on combat-related PTSD. The study went well, and I know we both enjoyed collaborating together on this project. The thing that concerns me however, is your suggestion that we make some small changes to the data in order for our preferred treatment to look like the better option of the two. While this would certainly help our cause in promoting this treatment over the other treatment, I am asking you to look at this from an ethical standpoint and rethink your suggestion.  Not only would these changes be in violation of the American Statistical Association’s (ASA) Ethical Guidelines for Statistical Practice and the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, it also is in violation of the Biblical teachings regarding moral ethics.

According to the ASA, when providing information in reports or publications the statistician is to explain the outcome of the study in a way that is “honest and meaningful to the user/reader” (ASA, 2016, p. 3).  The APA states that psychology professionals should avoid “false, deceptive, or fraudulent statements” in all aspects of training, research, and affiliations (APA, 2017, p.8).  Finally, I would like to remind you that the Bible is very clear on how we, as Christians, are to conduct ourselves and our affairs. Proverbs 10:31, tells us that the speech of the righteous brings wisdom, and those who speak deceitful words will be found out (KJV).  While I agree that I was hoping our preferred treatment would have a more positive effect on our clients than the other treatment, I am opposed to any form of dishonesty. As this Bible verse points out, speaking, and in this case writing, in a dishonest manner will ultimately be found out. The Apostle Paul instructed us to “Lie not to one another…” (Colossians 3:9, KJV).  As professionals and Christians, not only are we required to uphold the guidelines set forth by the ASA and the APA, but we are mandated by the word of God to be honest, ethical, and Christ-like in our conduct and behavior (I Peter 1:15, KJV).

I ask that you prayerfully reconsider your wish to adjust the data and let me know, at your earliest convenience, when your final decision has been made.

Respectfully yours,

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