The prof is wrong and I know what's correct. What should I do?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by cleanup, Sep 28, 2008.

  1. cleanup macrumors 68030

    cleanup

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2005
    Location:
    Toronto
    #1
    I'm studying for a social psychology test I have tomorrow, and while studying I noticed something odd about either the explanation or data my professor gave the class in lecture.

    It concerns a study of empathy and altruism, and I noticed that if he explained it a certain way, then the data he gave us is correct. However, after reading a handful of articles (including the original one) and books, I realize that his explanation is wrong, and thus his data should be reversed.

    I've emailed him but he won't reply, probably because it's the weekend. The course discussion board is rather useless, but someone on there did confirm that I didn't take notes incorrectly. He gave what appears to be bad data and an inaccurate explanation.

    The problem is: on the test, I don't want to have to debate between giving the "true" explanation and answer (the one everyone heard in class) and the actual answer (the one written in plain English in all these damn articles I've read while trying to figure this out).

    Has this ever happened to you? What do you do in this sort of situation? Go with what you've learnt in class or use the information you believe is true?
     
  2. WillJS macrumors 65816

    WillJS

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2007
    #2
    I'd explain it like that: "The answer given is class _________, but I also read that ________".

    But I'm a high school sophomore.. so I'm not sure how it works. :)
     
  3. TheAnswer macrumors 68030

    TheAnswer

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2002
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    #3
    You've attempted to address it through e-mail. So, chances are, if there is consensus on the error, the questions will be thrown out.

    However, if this subject is a majority of the test, you need a little more guidance. Either way, you want to try to address the issue again with the professor before the exam (if person), if possible.

    I'd give factual answers with citations to the sources which gave the correct information. It shows the prof. that you've consulted reputable outside sources and are serious about the subject you're studying.

    Of course, all this advice goes out the window if the prof. is known to be a tool.
     
  4. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #4
    Write both answers, but make sure the prof knows which answer was given using the info taught in class, and which information you read.
     
  5. FrankieTDouglas macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2005
    #5
    I put the correct answer and validate my reasoning.
     
  6. P-Worm macrumors 68020

    P-Worm

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    #6
    Does the prof have office hours? See if you can talk to him about it before the test.

    P-Worm
     
  7. Leareth macrumors 68000

    Leareth

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2004
    Location:
    Vancouver
    #7
    is this a lower division or upper division or graduate class?
    if ti is first year or second , use the answer the prof gave but mention the one you read

    if upper division then give the answer you read and also add that this is diff than the answer in the lectures/


    It also could be a way for the prof to test that you actually read the reading/papers.
     
  8. madfresh macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2006
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #8
    Personally, I'd just go with whatever the professor thinks is correct. I've learned the hard way that arguing with your professors or challenging their authority will end making you lose in the end.
     
  9. djellison macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Location:
    Pasadena CA
    #9
    I would do a two part answer.

    Give the answer that the prof thinks is the right one first.

    THEN

    State how and why you think it is wrong, and what you think the right answer is - but keep that part a bit brief - you want to make sure you demonstrate your intelligence and aptitude for the subject, without coming across as a walking ego.

    Doug
     
  10. yoppie macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2007
    #10
    The two answers above are the best.

    Answer the question the way your professor would want you to first and THEN go to the answer you found. Your professor isn't likely to mark an answer wrong if it's what he thinks is right. He is likely to mark you wrong if he is a blowhard and thinks you're challenging his knowledge. Putting just the answer you found could also cause you to lose points because the professor might find that you misinterpreted the text/question.
     
  11. TheAnswer macrumors 68030

    TheAnswer

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2002
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    #11
    Keep in mind: even if the professor or teacher's assistant marks your answer wrong, you've created enough of a e-mail trail and a record of seeking proactively to correct this problem before the test, that you will most likely be able to get the points back.

    Let us know what happens.
     
  12. cleanup thread starter macrumors 68030

    cleanup

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2005
    Location:
    Toronto
    #12
    Well, some people on the discussion board have told me that I didn't hear the prof wrong. The inaccurate explanation he gave was in fact the one he gave, and in that case, his data fits. Of course, it leads us to believe in slightly different conclusions for the study, but it may have been his way of simplifying the overarching theme in what he was trying to get through to us.

    So on the multiple choice section, I'll just answer as though I never read the article... on the essay question, I may or may not discuss my findings.

    Thanks for your help guys. Test's in 3.5 hours. Time for some last minute studying!

    I'll let you know how it goes. Damn I hate essays.
     

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