Online Program

Friday, February 19
CS09 Do the Right Thing Fri, Feb 19, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
Crystal II

Just Say No! (303159)

Ana Nora Donaldson, Stony Brook University 
*Mary W. Gray, American University 

Keywords: best practices, consulting, ethics, communication skills

Statisticians who consult with the medical, legal or business professions face similar problems, perhaps due in part to the nature of the practitioners of these professions. What consultant has not been urged, or even pressured, to agree with shaving the sample size to be employed or to draw conclusions not founded on the results at hand? Questionable or careless practices very rarely arise to the level of fraud uncovered in the recent La Cour case, but that episode has highlighted the problems that can occur in academic survey research and has alerted the statistics community to the need for more stringent oversight throughout the practice of statistics. This presentation will highlight past errors that have appeared in a variety of contexts, recommend some cautionary practices, and provide some guidance for both the novice and senior statisticians. The techniques, based on ways to “Just say No!” to ethically, scientific or legally unjustified procedures and analyses, have extensive applicability to consultants across a wide variety of fields, environment, political science, economics, and agriculture, for example.