Nine out of 10 Americans turn to GetReligion for clear, compelling analysis of religion news coverage.
Trust me on that: I've done a survey.
"Wait a minute," somebody in Cyberland protests. "Can I please see details on the polling process and the specific questions asked?"
What, you don't believe me!? Would it help if I produced an official-looking news release?
I am joking, of course.
But my point is serious, given recent headlines concerning a maligned study on same-sex marriage opinions that drew a ton of media coverage.
The news sparked a front-page story in Tuesday's New York Times.
The Times reported:
He was a graduate student who seemingly had it all: drive, a big idea and the financial backing to pay for a sprawling study to test it.
In 2012, as same-sex marriage advocates were working to build support in California, Michael LaCour, a political science researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles, asked a critical question: Can canvassers with a personal stake in an issue — in this case, gay men and women — actually sway voters’ opinions in a lasting way?
He would need an influential partner to help frame, interpret and place into context his findings — to produce an authoritative scientific answer. And he went to one of the giants in the field, Donald P. Green, a Columbia University professor and co-author of a widely used text on field experiments.
Last week, their finding that gay canvassers were in fact powerfully persuasive with people who had voted against same-sex marriage — published in December in Science, one of the world’s leading scientific journals — collapsed amid accusations that Mr. LaCour had misrepresented his study methods and lacked the evidence to back up his findings.