|Title_Biostatistics_Ethics_Case_Study||Three against one - conflict over flawed analysis|
|Case_Presentation|| This is a real-life dilemma contributed by a statistician in industry:|
A scientist analyzed some data and the results will be sent to a governmental agency in support of product submission/approval. His supervisor suggests that he contact a statistician to make sure that the data have been analyzed appropriately. The scientist visits with the statistician and asks that the statistician look over his results and send an email message that the analysis is fine. The statistician consults with the scientist to understand the experiment and the data, asks for the raw data, and does the statistical analysis. Unfortunately, the scientist has analyzed the data incorrectly and the statistical analysis yields a result contrary to the scientist\x92s result. The scientist is unhappy and wants to submit his results. The statistician tells him that she cannot support his statistical analysis and based upon the scientist\x92s comments, knows that the issue is not closed.
The statistician reports to a scientist who is not an advocate of statistics and a few days later her supervisor invites her to a meeting in his office and although he neglects to specify the agenda for the meeting she knows the topic. She goes to the meeting and the attendees are her supervisor, the scientist, and his supervisor. When her supervisor tells her that they want to discuss the statistical analysis, she says, \x93I didn\x92t know we were going to discuss this and I need to go back to my office and get my file.\x94 She goes back to her office and sits for about 10 minutes to gather her thoughts since she is upset that her supervisor has not talked to her before scheduling the meeting.
Back at the meeting her supervisor tells her that he wants her to sign off on the scientist\x92s analysis so that it can be submitted. She is now really upset since he does not support or respect her professional judgment. With three against one what would you do? Since your supervisor wants you to accept the flawed analysis should you put the responsibility on him and walk away? Would you stand up for your ethical principles knowing your job and/or raises may be in jeopardy?
The statistician says she cannot do that and proceeds to explain why the scientist\x92s statistical analysis is flawed. During the hour-long discussion her supervisor continues to be non-supportive and pressures her into accepting the scientist\x92s analysis. After much discussion the scientist\x92s supervisor says he understands why the scientist\x92s statistical analysis is flawed and the matter is resolved. Although the incident ended favorably what would you have done if the scientist\x92s supervisor had not accepted your explanation?
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