Wednesday, February 3, 2009 -- The Executive Council of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) announced Tuesday that an 8-month investigation found that Dr. Gilbert Burnham violated the Association's Code of Professional Ethics & Practices.
AAPOR found that Burnham, a faculty member at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, repeatedly refused to make public essential facts about his research on civilian deaths in Iraq.
In particular, the AAPOR inquiry focused on Burnham's publication of results from a survey reported in the October 2006 issue of the journal Lancet
When asked to provide several basic facts about this research, Burnham
holds that researchers must disclose, or make available for public disclosure, the wording of questions and other basic methodological details when survey findings are made public.
This disclosure is important so that claims made on the basis of survey research findings can be independently evaluated.
Section III of the AAPOR Code states: "Good professional practice imposes the obligation upon all public opinion researchers to include, in any report of research results, or to make available when that report is released, certain essential information about how the research was conducted."
Mary E. Losch, chair of AAPOR's Standards Committee, noted that AAPOR's investigation of Burnham began in March 2008, after receiving a complaint from a member.
According to Losch, "AAPOR
formally requested on more than one occasion from Dr. Burnham
some basic information about his survey including, for example, the wording of the questions he used, instructions and explanations that were provided to respondents, and a summary of the outcomes for all households selected as potential participants in the survey.
provided only partial information and explicitly refused to provide complete information about the basic elements of his
Burnham is not a member of the organization