Research on Research Suggests

Gender Bias

Anyone who has ever taken a high school science course knows “scientific method” is supposed to be an empirical method for acquiring knowledge. This method is supposed to prevent any biases from being considered but is that always the case?

Ironically, research suggests … no.

This scientific method is the basis for the qualitative and quantitative research done today and it has been since at least the 17th century. But like many things developed in, and since, the 17th century, there was a certain lean towards the men in the room.

Due to a variety of factors including lack of education, imbalance of women in the workforce and erroneous assumptions about women, research was generally done by men, for men and with men. Gender bias is evident and invisible without careful scrutiny.

Here are a few examples:

This bias against women not only exists in the research studies, but also in the research studies of the researchers themselves. A study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care in 2002 found that women are considered better suited for qualitative research. So not only are quantitative research studies considerably less likely to include data on women, women are considered less adequate to conduct these studies.

A study done in 2020 found that globally, 90% of all people have some form of gender bias against women. With how pervasive this is in research, are there other, less-common ways bias against women impacts lives?

When you’re considering the validity of research, look for evidence of gender bias in the people who conduct the research, the methods they use and the conclusions that they draw.

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