The Courage to Find – and Tell – the Truth

David Broockman, Stanford University

As David Broockman, SSN Member and former Bay Area Graduate Fellow, completed his PhD at Berkeley and prepared to assume a Stanford professorship, he uncovered a major academic fraud. In a remarkable display of personal ethical resolve, he alerted fellow scholars and the larger public.

Members of a profession are supposed to police themselves, but blowing the whistle on peers is never easy, especially for young or otherwise vulnerable members of the community. That David Broockman and his collaborators found problems in a widely touted study of gay marriage canvassing is perhaps not surprising. Much more remarkable is that Broockman got to the bottom of the issues and found the personal courage to speak up in a careful and responsible fashion. The story is ably and insightfully told by Jesse Singal at New York Magazine in his article on “The Case of the Amazing Gay-Marriage Data: How A Graduate Student Reluctantly Uncovered a Huge Scientific Fraud.”

David Brookman is a prolific researcher who tackles major questions about American politics with a special focus on issues of political representation in American democracy. His three SSN briefs include one about “How Race Influences Citizen Contact with Officeholders;” another co-authored with Christopher Skovron showing that “Politicians Think American Voters are More Conservative Than They Really Are;” and yet another co-authored with Nicholas Carnes focused on union programs that help workers run for public office.

May 2015