Sound Research Methodology
In 2012 a respected sociology journal published a set of papers that concluded that gay and lesbian parents are inferior to heterosexual parents in terms of child outcomes, contradicting many earlier studies that showed equal or better outcomes The author [Regnerus] openly acknowledged that his center received $785,000.00 in funding from conservative Catholic Organizations such as Opus Dei who opposed same-sex marriage but he claimed that he had no such personal agenda. The findings of the research were widely published by the funding organizations as proof of the superiority of heterosexual, married, parents. Other popular and scholarly authors quickly noted that the paper had serious and obvious methodological errors that the editor of the journal seemed to overlook which invalidated the conclusions. Despite these concerns, the paper was cited shortly afterwards by a federal judge in a case involving the rights of gay couples to marry. (1) Read the original paper yourself – link provided below – and see if you can spot errors in methodology. Make sure you clearly note why each instance is problematic from a methodological perspective [review the chapter if you need to] (2) What, if any, is the lasting impact of the publication of this research? Do you think it’s possible to retract an unscientific finding once it has been published? [consider the case of the invalidated research linking childhood inoculations to the development of autism] (3) Why do you think the federal judge used the findings in spite of the evidence showing that the research was flawed [he was aware of it]? Has this ever happened to you? Can you think of an instance when you kept believing in something despite being given evidence to the contrary? Why do you think you continued to believe? How did that make you feel?