Monday, July 30, 2012

Journal Audit Finds Severe Flaws in Regnerus Study

An internal audit, scheduled to be published in the November issue of the journal in which the study was originally published, has found significant problems with the Regnerus study.

Social Science Research's editor James D. Wright assigned Darren E. Sherkat, a sociology professor and member of the editorial board, to conduct the audit:
"Among the problems Sherkat identified is the paper’s definition of 'lesbian mothers' and 'gay fathers'—an aspect that has been the focus of much of the public criticism. A woman could be identified as a 'lesbian mother' in the study if she had had a relationship with another woman at any point after having a child, regardless of the brevity of that relationship and whether or not the two women raised the child as a couple....
"Because of how the paper was written, Sherkat said, it would have been easy to miss Regnerus’s explanation of who qualified as 'lesbian mothers' and 'gay fathers.' If a reviewer were to skip ahead to the statistics in the table, it would be understandable, he said, to assume that the children described there were, in fact, raised by a gay or lesbian couple for a significant portion of their childhoods. In reality, only two respondents lived with a lesbian couple for their entire childhoods, and most did not live with lesbian or gay parents for long periods, if at all." [emphasis added]
 These facts, according to Sherkat, should have disqualified the study from publication. 

I highlighted the first portion of the second paragraph to re-iterate the question I asked in this post. Given that groups opposed to homosexuality and/or same-sex marriage are misusing this study, in part because of the way Regnerus erroneously categorized people as "gay" or "lesbian," what responsibility does he have to condemn the misuse and misinterpretation of his research?

Secondly, notice the other portion of the paragraph I highlighted. Since many opponents of same-sex marriage still do not seem to fully understand the critiques being rendered, and just how deeply flawed this study is, read that. Re-read it. Let it settle in awhile.

Only two adult children of people Regnerus categorized as having grown up in a "same-sex household" had lived with a lesbian couple for their entire childhood. Two.

Related: The Regnerus New Family Structures Study 

Cross-posted: Family Scholars Blog

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