Monday, November 12, 2018

Reducing Bias in Writing (part 3/5)

Bias may be promoted when the writer uses one group (often the writer’s own group) as the standard against which others are judged; for example, citizens of the United States. In some contexts, the term 'culturally deprived' may imply that one culture is the universally accepted standard.

The unparallel nouns in the phrase 'man and wife' may inappropriately prompt the reader to evaluate the roles of the individuals (i.e., the woman is defined only in terms of her relationship to the man) and the motives of the author. By contrast, the phrases 'husband and wife' and 'man and woman' are parallel.

Usage of 'normal' may prompt the reader to make the comparison with 'abnormal', thus stigmatizing individuals with differences. For example, contrasting lesbians with “the general public” or with “normal women” portrays lesbians as marginal to society. More appropriate comparison groups might be 'heterosexual women', 'heterosexual women and men', or 'gay men'.

From Section 3.11, APA Publication Manual (6th ed) (2010)

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Reducing Bias in Writing (part 2/5)

There is a difference between “case,” which is an occurrence of a disorder or illness, and “patient,” which is a person affected by the disorder or illness and receiving a doctor’s care. Instead of “manic-depressive cases were treated,” try “the patients with bipolar disorders were treated.”

Avoid terms such as “patient management” and “patient placement” when appropriate. Usually, the treatment, not patients, is being managed; some alternatives are coordination of care, supportive services, and assistance. Also avoid the term “failed,” as in “eight participants failed to complete the Rorschach and the MMPI,” because it can imply a personal shortcoming instead of a research result; 'did not' is a more neutral choice (Knatterud, 1991).

From the APA Publication Manual (6th ed) (2010): Section 3.11, Reducing Bias in Language.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Reducing Bias in Writing (part 1/5)

Respect people’s preferences; call people what they prefer to be called. Accept that preferences change with time and that individuals within groups often disagree about the designations they prefer. Make an effort to determine what is appropriate for your situation; you may need to ask your participants which designations they prefer.

Avoid labeling people when possible. In scientific writing, participants in a study tend to lose their individuality and may be broadly categorized as objects (with noun forms such as the gays and the elderly) and people with disabilities may be equated with their conditions — the amnesiacs, the depressives, the schizophrenics, for example. One solution is to use adjectival forms (e.g., “gay men,” “older adults,” “amnesic patients”). Another solution is to “put the person first,” followed by a descriptive phrase (e.g., “people diagnosed with schizophrenia”).

From the APA Publication Manual (6th ed) (2010): Section 3.11, Reducing Bias in Language. Guideline 2: Be Sensitive to Labels.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

How to Reference Personal Communications

Personal communications may be private letters, memos, some electronic communications (e.g., email or messages from nonarchived discussion groups or electronic bulletin boards), personal interviews, telephone conversations, etc. Because they do not provide recoverable data, personnel communications are NOT included in the List of References at the end of your research paper. Cite any personal communications as an in-text citation only. Give the initials as well as the surname of the communicator, and provide as exact a date as possible.
M. E. Daniels (personal communication, March 2, 2014) explained in an email that…
The interviewee (M.E. Daniels, personal communication, March 2, 2014) explained during our interview that…

If you are citing a recording or archived copy of a personal communication (e.g., email message, interview, etc.), these forms are recoverable and should be referenced in your List of References as a online forum post, tape recording, video etc.

From: Citing References in Text, Section 6.20, Personal Communications, APA Publication Manual (6th ed) (2010)