Consumer researcher leaves Pitt after retractions for data anomalies

A brand researcher has parted ways with the Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh, Retraction Watch has learned.

The researcher, Nicole Verrochi Coleman, was an associate professor of business administration. Her staff profile disappeared a few weeks after several recent retractions came to light. A Pitt spokesperson confirmed that Coleman was no longer at the university.

Journals pulled several of Coleman’s consumer research articles after learning of “unexplained irregularities” in her data. Coleman’s staff profile at the university now directs to a“page not found” error.

The spokesperson did not reply to questions about the circumstances of Coleman’s departure.

Coleman’s retractions were from the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, published by The University of Chicago Press, and the Journal of Consumer Research, an Oxford University Press title.

Since then, her article, “Attention, Attitudes, and Action: When and Why Incidental Fear Increases Consumer Choice,” was retracted from the Journal of Consumer Research on July 30. All three retracted publications had Patti Williams of the University of Pennsylvania and Andrea Morales of Arizona State University as co-authors.

Coleman did not respond to a request for comment sent to her Pitt email address.

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2 thoughts on “Consumer researcher leaves Pitt after retractions for data anomalies”

  1. As almost always is the case, the retraction notice leaves unanswered questions. How were these “anomalies” uncovered? Why did only the first author (apparently) get singled out for a study where multiple authors obtained and analyzed the data (see below). Seems more went wrong than one rogue professor, so what did anyone learn from the experience? Unfortunately, this is par for the course.

    The retraction reads, in part, “The authors wish to retract the above-referenced article due to data and analysis anomalies in the studies underpinning the research and because the record of primary data from the studies is incomplete.”

    From the paper:
    Studies 1 and 2 were designed together by the last three authors and were conducted with paid participants from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk; the data was initially analyzed by the last author. The first author* subsequently reanalyzed the data for the first two experiments. Studies 3-6 were designed together by the first three authors; studies 3 and 4 were run in November 2016, study 5 in February 2016, and study 6 in March 2016. Studies 3, 5, and 6 were conducted in the ASU Marketing Department Behavioral Lab with participants from the Marketing Subject Pool under the direction of the third author, and the data were analyzed by the first author. Study 4 was conducted by two research assistants at Arizona State University during two classes held by the third author, and the data was analyzed by the first author.”

    * Coleman

  2. Agree with the OP. There is no data or program required for most management journals, senior authors pass the blame to lower-status co-authors when you know what hits the fan, and the general need to create acolytes (instead of academics) to promote their BS theories and status; all symptoms of a terrible system. The irony here is that even several of the publishing gadflies in business never release their data and program. Anyone who thinks that much of business research is “science” is living a lie.

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