Investigator (PI) of a lab

Read the case below. Make an ethical argument that answers the question at the end of the case—What
should Richard do?—and is based on the responsibilities and privileges of the interested parties in the case.
As this is an argumentative style essay, it must have a thesis statement. Please review argumentative essays
(Links to an external site.)and thesis statements (Links to an external site.) provided by the Purdue Online
Writing Lab (OWL).
Each of the mini assignments focuses on one element of ethical analysis. For this essay, your argument should
be focused on the responsibilities and privileges of the interested parties . For that discussion you describe
responsibilities and privileges professionals may have based on their roles. In this assignment the
responsibilities of and privileges of interested parties will be the key to the reasoning that supports your thesis.
In particular, your essay will demonstrate your grasp of Richard’s varied responsibilities as a Principal
Investigator (PI) of a lab including his professional obligations to people who supervise him, those whom he
supervises, and even to broader interested parties, such as the scientific community. Your essay must also
reflect how other interested parties have responsibilities and expectations to help guide your answer to the
question, “What should Richard do?”
Grading will be based on rubric tasks 1 and 3.
Case: Accusations of Falsifying Data[1]
Richard is a young Associate Professor of biochemistry at a major research university. He is unmarried, lives
with his parents, and devotes all his time to establishing his scientific career and develop his lab into a highly
successful scientific enterprise that is turning out world class publications. He has remained in close touch with
John, his PhD advisor, and thinks of their relationship as a warm mutual friendship.
John tells Richard that one of his former PhD students, Allan, had fallen on hard times. He’d lost his first
academic appointment and was now driving a cab in the city where Richard lives. John suggests that Richard
hire the down-and-out guy who is 15 years his senior and practically homeless.
Richard hires Allen as a favor to his old mentor. He has Allan work with some research assistants in his lab.
For the first six months, Allan’s work is poor, and he resents Richard’s supervision. Allan not only insists that
his work is superior to that of others, he also makes unacceptable personal remarks to female graduate
Richard becomes totally fed up with Allan’s attitude and upset at himself for taking Allan in. Richard begins
thinking about the steps he needs to take with Human Resources to fire Allen but feels somewhat immobilized
at how he has let Allen manipulate him and get away with his poor performance.
Richard becomes more assertive, laying down the law and stating what he expects of Allan, specifically, some
decent data on the experiments they’re running. In response, Allan produces a dataset that fits Richard’s
hypotheses a little too perfectly. Richard questions him, and has a student gather some more data, which do
not resemble Allan’s data at all. When Richard confronts him with this discrepancy, Allan leaves the lab in a
The next morning, he bristles with hostility as he hands a copy of a letter to Richard, saying “You thought you
could cross me, didn’t you? I just sent this.”
Allan’s letter was to the Dean of Academic Affairs. In it he claimed that Richard had required him to falsify data
and that much of the data Richard had published in the last two years was falsified.
In a way, Richard is not surprised, but in another he is incredulous that Allan would do such a thing. Richard is
sure the Dean will not take the accusation seriously since Allan lacks standing. Nevertheless, Richard is
troubled that this alleged complaint may come down to his word against Allen’s.
What should Richard do?

Sample Solution