Author Topic: Being used as a lab rat as part of someone's degree dissertation.  (Read 1085 times)

lankou

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A group of my friends has been meeting up socially at various locations for camping weekends for some time now.
The group consists of the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable, PTSD sufferers, victims of life's hard knocks, and the mentally ill.
It transpires one of the group has been using our life experience, (anonymously) as part of the dissertation that has got them a 2.1 degree in psychology.

Sunny Clouds

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 :f_steam:

I didn't mind it when someone doing a masters or doctorate (can't remember which) put out a call for people with certain sorts of experience (abuse in psychiatric units and care homes) to get in touch.  I did and said it was ok to use my experiences, and we agreed on a pseudonym.

That is so utterly different from your group's experience.  I think if I were in the group, it would feel like having been spied on.

I hope that at least what was said was a truthful and fair representation and that the members of the group can recover from this dishonesty.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

lankou

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That is so utterly different from your group's experience.  I think if I were in the group, it would feel like having been spied on.



The person doing the dissertation has developed  disability problems preventing them from working. A psychology degree will enable them to get a job.

oldtone27

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I don't think that is reasonable, it is certainly ill mannered, but I'm not sure it is illegal. If the dissertation is fully anonimised can the unknowing participants do anything about it?


The VI group I volunteer for occasionally get asked for their experiences by students from the local university but that is always with express permission of each participant.


I do wonder if by investigating clandestinely the student may get a more complete or honest response than by asking directly. I'm not saying that justifies their action.

Sunny Clouds

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One compromise is to investigate clandestinely but then ask for permission to use the information they've gathered.  They may well get the answer yes subject to changing some key details.

How far that's possible can depend a lot on the nature and location of a group.  E.g. can the group be realistically described without identifying it?  That can vary a lot.  E.g. I live in a large urban area consisting of several towns/cities with no gaps in-between.  You could use various ways of disguising a group.  Random examples, refer to 'craft' group not an 'art' group, or 'pet walkers' when they're hikers that happen to have pets at home etc.  There would be so many possible groups over such a wide area that it would be effectively impossible to identify the group or its members without a very time-consuming and resource-consuming investigation.

By contrast, in a village or small town, you could call a local group anything you liked and people might guess which it was; and a group that was unusual in nature or well-advertised might be identifiable.

Ditto the people involved.

So many variables.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Sunny Clouds

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Incidentally, I think it's not just unethical, it's potentially harmful.

It's not unusual for people with mental distress to have problems with trusting people.  That can range from having PTSD following, for instance, abuse in a relationship, through to a reality not spoken of (in my opinion) enough in our society about how people perceived as vulnerable are more likely to be targetted by cheats.

I have a theory that one reason why people in certain social groups are more likely to end up with paranoia is a reality that people in those groups are more likely to have been cheated, exploited, betrayed etc.

So whilst the person in question may have thought it was an ok thing to do, it had the potential to be extremely damaging.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Sunshine Meadows

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One the face of it I am like good someone making use of other people's experience to help the get a degree and be better placed in the job market.


But then as I read the replies my brain switch on and it came up with  :f_bleep:


At the very least the people described in the dissertation should have been given the option to read it and provide feedback and more importantly permission. I would have thought the dissertation would have an ethical component as in what is considered appropriate when formulating a study. Also i forget what it is called but could participating in the group have affected group behaviour. For example the student talks about a certain type of trauma saying bullying in the work place and this encourages others to think about and discuss their experiences at work. Also given the group was self assigning they chose to come to a group that discussed PTSD I think it would be difficult to get a baseline. Part of the dissertation could talk about self assigning groups and how to aggregate for that.


I am not sure aggregate is the correct word, Its a looong time since I did my degree and I never had to write a dissertation  :biggrin:

Sunny,


We were writing at the same time. I agree with what you said.


lankou

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One the face of it I am like good someone making use of other people's experience to help the get a degree and be better placed in the job market.





Some years ago, I went on training course, (covered by confidentiality so I can't go into much detail.)
The subject of suicide came up and I asked the lecturer did they mean suicide caused by clinical depression or sudden overwhelming personal circumstances/tragedy, as I had looked after both types in my home for periods of six months.
I ended up giving the lecture.

Sunshine Meadows

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Lankou,


There is probably a term for what happened to you there maybe something like the intellectualisation of personal grief and suffering. Where we try to figure out the what, why and how something happened not in a fairytale sort of way where we go back and fix things. More like it paces our grief to a more manageable rate walking hand in hand with the side of us that keeps our heart beating.


It reminds me of how I would ask the union rep to help me with all the things that were happening at work and then they would come to me and ask questions about disability rights.


I am glad the people got to take part in lecture you gave it was probably better than any textbook.

lankou

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Lankou,



I am glad the people got to take part in lecture you gave it was probably better than any textbook.


Both the people my wife and I gave a home to for six months until they were sorted both are still alive one happily married, the other one has developed some serious health problems. (Plus family problems.)

bulekingfisher

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hELLO lANKOU


About been a lab rat I had to sign a paper to say I was happy to have student doctor's watch as the nuero surgon opparatted on me as UU was the first person in the western world to have a STERO TAXI