As we have learned over the course of this semester, scientific research should be unbiased and objective. At the same time, scientific research is expensive and is becoming more costly all the time. This means that many scientific studies cannot be carried out without at least one source of outside funding to pay for subjects, materials, research assistants, and so on, which means that researchers must continually search for open grants and submit many long and complex proposals in a quest to get the monies needed to carry out research. The dependency on money for research means that we must be concerned about possible sources of bias as a result of who funds a study, as well as how the method proposed for a study, or how even the gender or age of the applicant might affect the chances of getting a grant. For example, to what extent does industry rather than government sponsorship mean that the findings might favor the interests of the granting organization? If this happens, we refer to it as funding or sponsorship bias. An example of this might be a drug company that pressures a researcher to minimize adverse effects of a drug or make the claim that it works better than it really does. This can be harmful to public interests and to the scientific community who might use that faulty study as part of their literature review or to guide a new study.
Another important question concerns the decision-making process of awarding a grant. Grants are typically awarded via a peer-review process (like that used by journals when researchers submit articles). We must consider the extent to which certain methodologies are favored or censored because this could affect what we think we know. To what extent do peer reviewers favor quantitative research over qualitative? To what extent does gender affect who gets a grant? To what extent does the age of the applicant affect who gets a grant? Theoretically, the method, the gender, or age of an applicant should not have a bearing on whether one gets a grant or not–instead, the quality of the proposal and the relevance to the grant topic should be the determining factors. These examples illustrate peer-review bias in grant awards.
In this forum, you will investigate these two forms of bias, their frequency, form, and their impact on the scientific community. Please do not discuss any other type of bias–we want to focus only on the role of sponsorship or source of funding in biasing the results of research or the ways in which peer review of grants (not journal articles!) are biased. Every post should focus on these two issues and only these two issues.
You should post at least three times and on three different days. All posts should be at least 200 words. All posts MUST contain correctly formatted citations! If you do not cite, your content is plagiarized. Citations are not the same as references. If you do not include citations, you will get a zero for the forum. Consult your APA manual or a tutor if you need help with this. I will not give credit for websites like Simply Psychology, Chegg, Study.com, AboutPsychology. These are not reliable or well-developed sources of information for this topic. You may use government reports and peer-reviewed journal articles. if you have a question about the appropriateness of a source–email me directly.
PubMed is a useful database for your search. Be sure to use quotation marks around your search terms–for example: “funding bias and peer review.” Remember–do not report on peer review for publication–only for funding.