Celeste could be drawing false conclusions from her research between weight and popularity. She concluded that the correlation between being overweight and popularity means that a child being overweight causes them to be unpopular. However, correlation does not automatically indicate that two variables have a causal relationship (Gravetter & Forzano, 2019). Being overweight and being unpopular is correlated, according to Celeste’s study, but it does not necessarily mean that the former causes the latter.
There could be other explanations for why being overweight and being popular are strongly related. Her research lacks internal validity, which is defined as “a single, unambiguous explanation for the relationship between two variables” (Gravetter & Forzano, 2019). For instance, she did not account for extraneous variables, such as differences in personalities, skills and abilities, and gender. A person could be overweight and also socially withdrawn, leading to low levels of perceived popularity. In this case, being unpopular may be explained by their personality rather than their weight. Although Celeste did not consider these extraneous variables, they are still relevant factors within the study and undermine its internal validity.
From an ethics standpoint, there are dangers in assuming a causal relationship between being overweight and being popular. It could increase the prevalence of eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia. In an attempt to be more popular, children may develop unhealthy eating habits to control their weight. Eventually, these habits could catalyze the development of serious disorders. Another danger is that the erroneous findings could reinforce the stereotype that overweight children are inherently unpopular, leading to bullying as well as low self-esteem among the children who are overweight. Researchers should be careful when studying the relationship between variables to avoid false and harmful conclusions.
Antonio has irresponsibly stored the stack of surveys. A potential problem with this organization is that anyone could access the desk in his dorm room and read the survey responses. The surveys are attached to consent forms which contain the name of the respondents who answered them. This could result in a breach of confidentiality, which is an ethical problem in research. APA guidelines dictate that researchers should keep all information obtained from participants, private and confidential (Gravetter & Forzano, 2019). The students who were surveyed did not consent to their information being exposed to other parties.
I do not think it was advisable for Antonio to keep the surveys in a pile on his desk. Storing them in this manner left them accessible to anyone passing by his desk. Instead, he should have stored them in a secure cabinet. The cabinet should be locked and only he should have had the key to it. This would ensure maximum confidentiality of the information contained in the surveys.
It would be unethical for Antonio to look at the survey filled by his love interest to learn more about her. The principle of informed consent compels the researcher to provide adequate information to an individual to enable make them decide on whether or not to participate in a study (Gravetter & Forzano, 2019). The girl consented to the survey knowing that the data would be used to study the relationship between a student’s level of motivation and their personality. It would be against this principle for Antonio to use the collected data for any other purpose. Researchers should uphold ethical principles to prevent violations.
Gravetter, F. J., & Forzano, L. A. B. (Eds.). (2019). Research methods for the behavioral sciences. Boston, Massachusetts: Cengage Learning.