Michael LaCour, the University of California-Los Angeles graduate student responsible for a now-widely discredited study on attitudes towards gay marriage, apparently lied about the funding grants given for his fraudulent research.
In fact, according to The New Yorker, LaCour received no funding at all for the study — which was published last December in Science magazine and discredited earlier this week — into whether views on same-sex marriage change due to interaction with gay individuals.
“He didn’t have any grants coming to him. He had a small one that he didn’t accept,” Donald Green, the co-author of the retracted study and a political science professor at Columbia University, told The New Yorker about the study that claimed respondents started to accept same-sex marriage after positive interactions with gay people.
Green, who played little role in the the doctored research, said he discovered this fact after asking LaCour’s adviser, Lynn Vavreck, to look into the matter Monday after LaCour’s data was questioned by researchers from the University of California-Berkeley.
Vavreck found that the funding the UCLA student alleged he had was completely made up.
LaCour, according to his curriculum vitae, claimed over $300,000 in grant money was given to his research on gay marriage attitudes. The fake money was supposed to compensate respondents who participated in the researcher’s study.
Furthermore, Green told The New Yorker LaCour had no data to back up his study’s conclusion.
“There was no data, and no plausible way of getting the data,” Green said. The view that LaCour made up his data was echoed by Dave Fleischer of the Leadership Lab at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, which supplied the canvassers for the study, in a Wednesday interview on NPR’s “This American Life.”
The show’s host, Ira Glass, asked Fleischer, “If the data isn’t real, if he isn’t really doing surveys, then what would you be looking at? Just things he had made up earlier?”
Fleischer replied, “You know Ira, I do not know the answer to that question. But my suspicion is yes. We are looking at something that he had made up.”
Green submitted a retraction request to Science magazine on Tuesday after LaCour failed to do so on his own. According to his own web site, LaCour is still standing behind the findings reported in the study.