The Importance Of Bias In Research

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There are many social science researches that point out bias in academic studies and often refer to it negatively, if all bias is removed from academic that would be the preferred outcome. However, inherent in any type of qualitative research there is bias. Macoun (1997) wrote in his text, Biases in the Interpretation and Use of Research Results, research is biased can be a harsh criticism, a devastating attack on the target 's credibility, integrity, and honor. However, bias is a rather ambiguous term and merely refers to the adoption of a particular perspective from which some things become salient and others merge into the background. So can we say that not all bias is negative in context? All research is inherently biased whether the …show more content…
However, it may seem that most in the field of qualitative research associate bias as a “systematic error”. Macoun also pointed out that that research may hold bias, but just as likely those that evaluate research can hold a bias in their conclusions, as well. Hammersley (2000) also stated in his text, Taking Sides In Social Research, that bias “reveals important aspects of phenomena that are hidden from other perspectives” (pg. 142). This positive bias is revelatory, exposing unforeseen relationships that had not been understood prior to research. Although the term bias can be constructive when used to describe qualitative research, critics often point out the subjective nature of such enquiry. This can be noted that if the researcher collects the data through interaction with people at the focal point of the study, the very subjective nature of the study becomes ripe for criticism due to perceived bias. As Creswell mentioned in his text, Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing Among Five Traditions, that research starts with the very foundation of philosophical assumptions, interpretive paradigms, and theoretical frameworks “that shape the content of a qualitative project” …show more content…
Peer review is a form of utilizing collective judgment to back up the research’s findings. Moore wrote in his text, Conflicts Of Interest, that peer review is well suited for reducing random error, however this type of collective decision-making may actually “amplify individual bias” rather than correct it (Moore, 2005, pg. 251). Finally, external auditors, with no connection to the research, can be brought in to ensure that data supports a study’s conclusions. Furthermore, Macoun provides several other techniques that can be used to reduce bias and enhance research validity. One unique methodology worth mentioning is what Macoun refers to as “Adversarial Science” whereby a collective review of qualitative research is provided to a heterogeneous population of reviewers to correct for the amplification of individual bias within a standard peer review process Researchers are truly seeking credibility and have different strategies to choose from while Creswell suggests using at least two techniques to address validity in a qualitative research study. (Creswell, 2007, pg.

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