Techniques of Neutralization and Research Misconduct

Mark S. Davis, Kent State University
Michelle L. Riske, Justice Research & Advocacy Inc.
Megan M. Seaman, Kent State University

The data upon which this research is based consists of text collected from the closed files of researchers who have been found guilty of scientific misconduct by the Office of Research Integrity (ORI). The purpose of the study was to shed light on the possible causes of research misconduct, which includes behaviors such as the fabrication and falsification of data, and plagiarism. The text was read and sorted independently by two investigators. Evidence of respondents' use of techniques of neutralization as identified by Sykes and Matza was found in a number of the analyzed cases. The results add yet another research-based piece to what is undoubtedly a complex etiological puzzle comprised of structural, organizational and individual factors.

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Updated 05/20/2006