ERIC Number: ED266373
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Aug
Reference Count: 0
There's No Such Thing as Value-Free Science.
Makosky, Vivian Parker
This paper is based on the view that, although scientists rely on research values such as predictive accuracy and testability, scientific research is still subject to the unscientific values, attitudes, and emotions of the scientists. It is noted that undergraduate students are likely not to think critically about the science they encounter. A class activity is then presented which demonstrates how researchers' values and those of society influence science. In this activity, five women are asked to volunteer to thread a needle, followed by five men who are drafted to perform the same task as a data gathering exercise. It is noted that when the participants are timed, the women always win. Following this exercise, the instructor announces that this was a fine motor skills test which shows that only women should be neurosurgeons; when the class objects, the instructor then allows the class to identify what is wrong with this reasoning. Several issues in biased research are suggested including the problems of: (1) variable labels being assumed to reflect the true quality of the variable; (2) biases in subject selection; (3) problems with volunteer subjects; (4) the exclusion of environmental factors in favor of personal characteristics; (5) avoidance of mass media; and (6) how publicized findings influence public policy. It is recommended that instructors conclude the activity by encouraging students to formulate questions about these topics when reading scientific research. (ABL)
Publication Type: Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (93rd, Los Angeles, CA, August 23-27, 1985).