When starting off a research, almost every researcher already has a pre-conceived idea of how they want the outcome of the research to be. In most cases, they want the research to refute the null hypothesis that they have come up with to prompt the research (http://wwwcourses. ttu. edu). Most researchers assume that by showing that they are being objective they will actually show that they are being unbiased but this is not always the case. The researcher may strive to show his or her lack of bias yet finds that a lot of bias is still exhibited in the research.
If one had already decided that the research will refute the null hypothesis, then the data collected will be aimed at that specifically and might tend to ignore any data that does not refute the null hypothesis. This will then affect the validity of the research results. Validity is said to be the extent to which a research accurately reflects what was found during the research. Researcher bias is one of the threats to validity. The researcher will be aiming at ensuring that the data collected fits with the already preconceived theories and idea that he or she had even before the commencing of the research.
Even after collecting various data, the researcher may tend to use some data more than others (Maxwell J. A 2005). These beliefs and theories that a researcher has cannot be eliminated instead they can only be controlled or expressed in the writing of the report. A researcher should then indicate how he/she intends to control and deal with the bias instead of assuming that they are not there. In cases where the research data is collected from people through one on one interviews or even group interviews, the bias can occur because the interviewees want to please the researcher.
Every time the researcher shows that they are pleased with the answer, then the interviewees take note and try to ensure that their answers match those that please the researcher. They do this to try and get on the good side of the researcher. However there are other interviewees who will want to be against the researcher and so they will ensure that their answers are always against the researchers will (William M. K 2006). This form of bias occurs unintentionally and cannot be blamed on the researcher.
This form of researcher bias can be controlled by the researcher ensuring that when conducting interviews they become objective other than subjective. Also they can improve on it by minimizing the amount of personal interviews that they undertake. Increasing the number of questionnaires that are used in comparison to the face-to-face interviews can do this. This is done because a human being may not always be able to hide their feelings and this will help reduce the instances in which their expressions tamper with the data collected.
This will mean that the data collected and analyzed is impersonal and the researcher has not in any way affected the answers that the respondents give. This will lead to a reduction of the number of times that bias occurs and thus leave the researcher with less bias compared before to deal with. Researcher bias mainly occurs in the internal validity area. The various kinds of bias that a researcher may have may be as a result of their fears, prejudices, very strong positive or negative feelings towards the respondents or project or even having a preoccupied idea of what should happen in the field and after the research (Novak K.
D & Buddenbaum J. M 2001). The biases that a researcher has before going to the field may lead to their either misinterpreting the data and/or overlooking some aspects of data or overvaluing others. This is done depending on what the researcher is biased towards. This therefore means that the validity of such a research will be questionable. This sort of research bias may be reduced if the researcher reduces the amount of observational researches. This is because their previous way of thinking before the research is not projected in the research results.
Also, the researcher may avoid conducting the research in an area that they are attached to emotionally. This is because in such instances they end up bringing their emotional attachments to the research thus compromising its validity. They will then mould the data and results according to the feelings that they have towards the area concerning the research topic. This may also happen if the researcher has very strong feelings about the research topic and this reduces their objectivity during the research.
To increase the amount of objectivity that the researcher has in such a case, it becomes necessary for them to include another indifferent person in the research. Since the other person does not have any emotional attachment to the area in which the research is being conducted and also none in regards to the topic, they are able to minimize the amount of subjectivity exhibited in the research. Furthermore, the objective researcher will be able to get more data than the subjective one and thus be able to analyze the results better refuting or accepting the null hypothesis depending on the data.
The researcher may still decide to use the research topic and in the area that they have emotional attachment to and include their personal biases in the research report. Also if an objective researcher ends up behaving subjectively, they may opt to include the biases that have cropped up in the process of researching in the report thus allowing the reader to judge the research on their own the data that is presented (Novak KD & Buddenbaum J. M 2001).
This is important because field research gets more information than any other research because they are able to relate to the respondents on a more personal level. The researcher has the ability to understand the respondents better than one who is not in the field using less direct methods of data collection. A researcher may also decide to include the field notes in the research report to show the validity of your conclusion. It may also help in allowing the reader to determine on their own what the conclusion is and if it is right considering the researcher’s biases.
The use of this evidence may also assist the readers in understanding the way the researcher conducted the research by looking at the conclusion. This is because the conclusion reflects most of the biases that the researcher has and thus aids in understanding why the research was conducted as it was. External validity does not exhibit as many cases of researcher bias as internal validity does. Triangulation is said to be the use of various techniques to study the same thing so as to be as sure as possible of the outcome (Jarvinen E. M et al 2001).
It is when a researcher compares the data that has been collected using one method of data collection with other ways to enhance the validity and reliability of the research. Triangulation may involve cross checking the data collected through observation against the data collected through interviews or previously collected statistics. The researcher can also crosscheck the information at hand with the respondents that they get the information from. This then corrects even the mistakes that may have been made in the recording data. In research, there are various ethics that are supposed to be used.
These ethics usually include honesty, respect for intellectual property, objectivity, confidentiality, integrity, responsible, mentoring and publication, carefulness, openness, legality, competence, respect for colleagues, non discrimination, social responsibility, animal care and human subjects protection. The researcher bias goes against a number of ethics outlined in the research ethics. It is therefore necessary to avoid the bias because it is actually unethical when considered in light of the ethics required in research (http://www. nichs. nih. gov).