P1-11: Research and Data Ethics in the Statistics Classroom

By Douglas Whitaker (University of Wisconsin, Stout)


Even with increasing state standards, the statistics experience for many students does not extend beyond what they learned in grades K-12 or a collegiate introductory statistics course. In an increasingly data-driven world, students need an understanding of the ethics involved with the collection, use, and interpretation of data, and secondary and tertiary statistics courses are an ideal setting for this. The need for students to understand data and research ethics is more than just to prepare them to be researchers: data is collected about and from students constantly (e.g. by researchers, administrators, and companies), and students should understand why this matters and what the different practices are. Additionally, there are certainly students who enter the workplace and are asked to collect and use data without even a cursory understanding of data ethics. There are many opportunities for teachers of statistics to incorporate research and data ethics into a statistics class, and several ideas are given (e.g. having students participate in a mock IRB procedure, use of case studies, and a compelling lecture). While research and data ethics are not typically included in mathematics standards, there is potential for alignment of such activities with the Common Core Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects for grades 6-12.