Science, a prominent journal in the scientific community, announced on Thursday that it would be retracting a study it published on American attitudes toward gay marriage. The reason for the retraction is an issue of credibility with regard to the data collected.
Michael J. LaCour, who is a graduate student at UCLA, performed the study in question alongside Donald Green of Columbia University. However, when asked, LaCour failed to provide raw data to back up his conclusions. This was after a team of researchers from Stanford University failed to back up the findings of the study.
The Stanford team claims that the firm LaCour hired to carry out the study was unaware of the project. According to Green, LaCour insists that the raw data of the study had been accidentally deleted, which is why he was unable to produce the data when questioned about it. In its statement, Science noted “certain statistical irregularities” as an additional reason why the study was pulled from its publication.
For the study, LaCour theorized that a homosexual canvasser would be better able to change someone’s mind on the issue of gay marriage, believing that someone with a personal stake in the issue could better sway public opinion. The results of the study backed up that belief, concluding that homosexual canvassers were able to get people to respond more favorably towards gay marriage. However, with no certifiable data to back that up, Science has had to retract the study.
LaCour has admitted that he made false statements in his research, but that he still disagrees with the decision of Science to retract the study. He is expected to make another statement later today to respond to the accusations that have been levied against him.