Reporting Findings in a COVID-19 World


Hey Friends,

If you’re still following the bleakness of the news today, you may have seen the stories about entities potentially fudging data and individuals (whistleblowers and otherwise) refusing to engage in such directives then losing their jobs. This may or may not have occurred in your careers as evaluators (or other capacities)…clients wanting something potentially negative/hurtful omitted or findings “softened”.

This thread isn’t asking you to disclose specific situations where something like this may have happened to you (but feel free to share if you are comfortable doing so). Rather, in the event that someone in this group does have the misfortune of encountering this, what are some ways that you think one might be able to deal with such requests tactfully?

Cheers to you all!


I was asked to do this once before. The compromise I came to with the group was that the 5 page summary they sent to the funder did not have the data that was difficult/not positive in it, but the full, larger report did have it, and made note of it more prominently. I was not happy about it but I felt that it was still represented in my final work and the org was aware of it overall. I fought hard and lost the battle, but I think I still “won the war” because it was part of the whole report.


My first go-to is discussion - trying to understand why the person/organization doesn’t want the data reported. I recently had an experience where discussion resolved an issue around presenting negative/unfavourable data (it turned out that the other person and I had been ‘on the same side’, but just hadn’t been understanding each other correctly).

I haven’t had to resort to this before, but a next step could be to describe to the person that their request conflicts with the professional standards and ethics that I have to work under as part of my profession. That way, the refusal to comply with the person’s request is beyond your control. However…that could open up other issues. There’s the risk of losing the contract/job or potentially damaging a professional relationship.

Ethics issues are a doozie, but so interesting too!


It’s good that you were able to come to a compromise. Thank you for sharing!


Excellent points on both accounts. Ethics issues are definitely a doozie! Thank you for sharing!