Module 2 Discussion: Spotting Researcher Bias

STEP 1: Choose a mental health disorder (i.e., anxiety, depression, schizophrenia) and find a free, full-text research article available in the National Institute of Mental Health database: or the National Library of Medicine: Type in the condition you have chosen in the search bar (for example, you could search for “bipolar disorder research” or “schizophrenia study.” The article should include an abstract describing items such as methods, results, and conclusion of the study conducted.

STEP 2: Read through the article and pay close attention to the end, thoroughly reading the section the authors have on limitations and conflicts of interest. Finally, check the references as well for any sources of bias (was a specific researcher or author used as a main source for the majority of the reference? Are any of the researchers who conducted the study also referenced in that section as a source?).

STEP 3: Post a response (in at least 250 words) in the discussion forum. Your response should include the following:

  1. A brief introduction of the article itself (what were the researchers studying?)
  2. A statement of whether or not it was peer-reviewed
  3. A description of the limitations addressed and how this may have impacted the current study, or how it might impact future research (what is needed to eliminate these limitations? And can we do so ethically?)
  4. Describe any conflicts of interest and why this may have presented a problem (if applicable)
  5. Review the references and discuss any possible biases: was there any source more heavily relied on than others? (this isn’t necessarily wrong but how might it have influenced the authors of the study?) Were any of those conducting the study also a source listed in the references? (i.e., did one of the authors have a book previously written that was cited as a source for the study itself?) Did there appear to be a lack of sources listed?
  6. Finally, list anything else that you believe may have led to research bias, or on the contrary, why you believe it was a well-sourced, scientifically-based study.

You should have a clear stance on the issue with supporting evidence as to why you feel the way you do. Show that you can think critically on the topic by integrating your own thoughts, analysis, or experiences. Don’t forget to cite the article in APA format.

STEP 4: Respond in two separate posts to two classmates (in at least 75 words). Explicitly address their responses and try to extend, complicate, or redirect their points in a substantive, knowledge-demonstrating way.