It’s important for researchers to acknowledge their biases when conducting research. These biases might relate to the researcher’s personal views, but it also might relate to the researcher’s source of funding for a research project. For example, a researcher could be hired by a particular school district to study teacher qualifications, class size, and grade inflation in that particular school district. Think about how this could present a dilemma for the researcher.
When writing your research paper, you should think about your personal views regarding the systems of inequality that you will be researching. You may want to describe your personal views about these systems of inequality in two or three paragraphs. For example, some people may personally feel that some forms of inequality are not as important as others or that a certain type of inequality is no longer a problem at all. That’s personal opinion, and thus, it is a bias. Sometimes it can take some practice, but ideally you should keep your personal opinion out of the research process as much as possible. Of course, it’s impossible to totally do that. For example, when a researcher selects a topic to study, that is showing some amount of bias. Even by writing this article, I am showing my own bias that I consider the systems of inequality to be important to your understanding of scientific research methodology.
Analyze the results of your study without biases. Keep in mind:
- What do these findings mean sociologically?
- Overall, how were your Respondents affected by these systems of inequality?
- What appear to be the most influential identities that they have? For example, your Respondents may identify most with their age or it might be their sexual orientation or it could be their race and their state of able-bodiedness.
- Finally, state what you believe is sociologically significant about their responses.
In your concluding paragraph, re-state what the purpose was of this project. Explain once again what is meant by systems of inequality. Think about what your Respondents said should be done about these forms of inequality. Do you personally agree with them? Explain.
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