In the middle of the whole debacle involving the recent study about gay canvassers is the graduate student who lied about aspects of his study such as its sponsors and methodology. Still, he stood by his findings that says that gay canvassers influence votes in same-sex marriage.
Michael J. LaCour, political science doctoral candidate at the University of California, Los Angeles said that that attack and retraction of his study was akin to an academic ambush. “They never contacted me directly, there was no transparency, and as a grad student I don’t have the same protection as a professor,” he claims about the two colleagues who questioned his work.
According to the charges against him, Mr. LaCour improperly erased the raw data, an accusation that made his co-author Donald P. Green, who is a respected political scientist at Columbia University, ask for their study to be retracted. According to LaCour, the destruction of the data was actually required by U.C.L.A.’s institutional guidelines to safeguard participant privacy.
Another researcher who is familiar with U.C.L.A. guidelines said that total destruction was not required. Instead, only “unique identifiers” were needed to be destroyed, not entire sets of data.
Another point that Mr. LaCour had to contend with were the listed supporters on his paper denying doing so. According to LaCour, he included them to improve the credibility of his paper, stating that some colleagues questioned his data because he lacked funds for his project.