It was supposed to be a study showing how people’s minds can be changed with the right words. It was supposed to be groundbreaking. It was supposed to sow hope among those who fight for freedom rights in LGBT matters.
The study conducted by Michael J LaCour, a PhD student at UCLA, was meant to reveal how gay political canvassers could change conservative voter’s views in regards to same-sex marriage. A good initiative one may say, but the outcome was pretty much controversial.
The study data is now analyzed and seemingly contradicted by two graduate political science students at the University of California, Berkeley, who initially tried to extend the study with more relevant data but found serious problems in its substance.
Michael J LaCour’s initiative was a very much noble one, in trying to change essential conservative views on gay marriage. He intended to test the efficiency of a door-to-door campaign run by the Los Angeles LGBT Center, after the passage of Proposition 8 which made same-sex marriage illegal in California. With 20 minutes conversations, conducted by either gay or straight people, opponents’ minds were thought to be changed. This is a very humanistic approach on a deeply social matter and its outcome sounded more than promising.
David Brookman, one of the two students who returned to the study to strengthen its data, noticed that the response rate of their pilot study was dramatically lower than the original reports. This was the first alarming fact that made researchers dig deeper into the issue.
Consequently, the team of researchers who want to unveil the truthful facts about the study, declared they are gathering evidence and most relevant information so they can offer a single and all-encompassing response. They started their work by contacting the initial research firm that was in charge with the canvassing groundwork gathered to offer the results for the first study.
Michael J. LaCoeur keeps silent and refuses to come to light with explanations related to his idea of a LGBT study. To this day, LaCoeur declined researcher’s request to provide his previous raw data for and also refused to offer contact information for respondents in the survey. The researchers working now on the update are unable to compare facts with written data, as they don’t have the raw material to be analyzed.
It seems that our constant work to improve, change or upgrade people’s views over the world and what normal behavior matters is much more difficult than a 20 minutes talk with strangers. Gay political canvassers seem not to be enough to proceed with the change and tolerance they need. We are keeping our eyes open to see how the twists turn and cannot wait the new information revealed for the study sequel.
A steady research needs credibility as an essential factor. As long as LaCoeur doesn’t provide credible evidence about his findings, his study cannot be taken for granted. At the same time, the two researchers who managed to find LaCoeur’s inconsistencies go further in their research work, to offer more relevant and comprehensive results on an issue that separates people and visions over what it’s supposed to be a unitary world.
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