Laurie Taylor Column

March 3, 2006

POPPLETON EVENING NEWS

Shock probe into pork pie findings

Dramatic evidence that research carried out by University of Poppleton academics may be flawed has been uncovered by a Poppleton Evening News investigation.

Controversy first broke out when a research team led by Professor Gordon Lapping of the Department of Media and Cultural Studies published the results of a three-year study of pork pie preference in six regions of the UK.

This study, financed by a £750,000 research grant from Poppleton Pork Products plc, claimed that, in independent tests, the Poppleton Extra Large Pork Pie was preferred to five other nationally known extra large pies by nine out of ten respondents.

However, an investigation by this paper now reveals that instead of the usual statistical indices of preference, the study refers to "an awful lot of people preferring the Poppleton product" and "not really very many people at all" admitting to a preference for any of its rivals.

Further investigation by the News reveals that the Poppleton product may also have been favoured by respondents because it was the only one of the sample pies presented to respondents on a gilded plate.

Last night, Professor Lapping defended his team's results. He told the News : "We stand by our scientific conclusion that, on the whole, Poppleton Pork Pies are preferred by nearly everyone."

Asked if this favourable conclusion related in any way to the source of the project's funding, the professor replied: "That is a wholly cynical suggestion. The fact that Poppleton Pork Products plc was prepared to invest such a sizeable sum in a research project of this kind without knowing the favourable outcome in advance is a testimony to their trust in the objectivity of contemporary academic research."

Professor Lapping has been offered early retirement five times.

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