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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2012 > Jan > Jan 14

Re: Participation In Psychology Dissertation Study

From: Dave Haith <visions1.nul>
Date: Sat, 14 Jan 2012 10:26:37 -0000
Archived: Sat, 14 Jan 2012 06:09:38 -0500
Subject: Re: Participation In Psychology Dissertation Study

>From: Joe McGonagle <joe.mcgonagle.nul>
>To: post.nul
>Date: Fri, 13 Jan 2012 02:21:43 +0000
>Subject: Re: Participation In Psychology Dissertation Study

Sorry to snip everything so far in this long running debate but
I thought it might throw some light on the topic if I tell you
that I wrote to Andrew Hodrien when this first surfaced on this

I didn't name the List or the debaters but gave him some idea
and a couple of quotes to illustrate the nature of the concerns.

I received an e-mail back from Hodrien in which he offered an
explanation of the survey and he promised to send me the
questionnaire. I immediately wrote back asking for permission to
post his remarks on this group.

That was a week ago and no response or questionnaire so
yesterday I wrote again but still no response.

So I've decided to post his e-mailr anyway - there's nothing in
it I'm sure that he wouldn't want everybody to know.

I doubt that it will settle anything but might shed some

(The sarcastic comment he refers to is Jerry's original remark
about the word 'belief')

Here's his e-mail:


Hi Dave,

Thank you for alerting me to this issue, which is - yes, sadly a
misinterpretation. I say sadly, because I hadn't expected the
details on the original advertisement to be misinterpreted and
am now concerned this could happen for others. However, it is
important for me to be aware of such issues in the research
process. Unfortunately, as the study has already begun I think
I'm unable to change the advertisement (unless there is a subtle
adjustment I'm allowed to make).

I shall explain in the best way possible, but hope you can
appreciate I can't tell you too much, otherwise you would be
unable to take part (whilst there is no deceit as such, we have
to control for participants knowledge on the expectations of the
study - ironically this appears to be the current issue, but
with the person having false expectations of the study).

The study itself isn't considering anything to do with the
validity (or non-validity) of UFO experiences, it is literally
about the nature of beliefs, but (and perhaps this is where the
issue arises from) this also includes scepticism as part of that
term. It is only psychological in the sense that it is about
beliefs, but it is not attempting to say anything about the
nature of UFOs. Also, if the sarcastic comment was read
literally, it is the type of criticism from debunkers of the UFO
phenomenon (not true sceptics) used to challenge believers
unfairly. This is something I am attempting to tackle,
particularly in the discussion of my dissertation.

It is a shame that from a participant's perspective they will
most probably only get to see the study itself, and not the
wider discussion it forms part of (however, I have had some
requests from individuals to read about it after completion).

I am actually more aware than most, about how the previous bias
in psychological research towards explaining away paranormal or
ufology-related phenomena, can put people off taking part in
such studies.

Without revealing my own views, I can assure you that my
research is not following this tradition. However, I'm sure you
can appreciate that in terms of the results of the study, to a
certain degree I have to interpret them fairly (however they
go). But, as mentioned already, they form part of a wider
discussion about beliefs and scepticism. I did attempt to make
my study explicitly mention that it is being conducted from a
'neutral' position, but encountered some issues with doing that.
On a personal note, if you need anymore assurance, perhaps
knowing that I have studied the UFO phenonmenon for around 20
years, and have studied psychology for the last 5 years, which
puts me in a relatively rare position in psychology.

Sorry for the long e-mail, this is just something I am
passionate about, ufology and conducting research properly. I'd
like to (if possible) correct any misinterpretations a person
could have about the study (regarding its intentions) and
therefore not participate, but more importantly avoid a person
automatically thinking this study is imposing a view of UFOs
having no validity.

Hope the above helps resolve this but please let me know if you
have any other questions about it (that I can answer without
stopping your participation! - of course I'm happy to discuss
anything after the study too).

Would you mind letting me know the group where these issues have
been raised? Is it posted on a specific forum or is it an e-mail
List discussion? Unfortunately I'm extremely busy at the moment
but want to try and clear this up as soon as possible. Based on
this, if you are happy to take part let me know and I will
provide you with the details (don't forget, you won't actually
provide consent until after you have read some more study
details in the survey and people can withdraw if they wish to).

Best regards,

Andrew Hodrien


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