Presentation on theme: "Guidelines to Reduce Bias in Language"— Presentation transcript:
1 Guidelines to Reduce Bias in Language APA StyleGuidelines to Reduce Bias in Language
2 Describe at the appropriate level of specificity When writing scientifically, be precise. Use words that are accurate, clear, and free from bias.Man is not as accurate as men and women to refer to human beings.For ages, give a specific range (ages 65-83) rather than broad category (over 65)Racial and ethnic groups: be appropriately specific and sensitive. Instead of Asian American or Hispanic America, describe by nation or region of origin (e.g. Chinese Americans, Mexican Americans)Sexual orientation: some people interpret gay as referring to men and women, others include only men. For clarification, the terms gay men and lesbians are preferred.
3 Describe at the appropriate level of specificity Clinical terms such as borderline and at risk should be avoided unless properly explained. Specify the diagnosis that is borderline (e.g. “people with borderline personality disorder”) and identify the risk and the people it involves (e.g. “children at risk for early school dropout”)Gender is cultural and refers to men and women as social groups. Sex is biological. Sex should not be confused with sexual behavior.
4 Be sensitive to labels Call people what they prefer to be called. Avoid labeling when possible.Use as neutral terms as possible.Bad: the dementedStill bad: demented groupBetter: dementia groupAvoid the word normal. Bad comparison: lesbians vs. normal women ; Better comparison: lesbians vs. heterosexual women
5 Acknowledge Participation Acknowledge that people participated in your studyDon’t use the word subjectsAppropriate terms: participants, individuals, college students, children, respondentsWhen discussing statistics, however, subjects and sample are appropriateUse active voice rather than passive (students completed the survey, rather than students were given the survey)
6 Avoid Gender BiasChoose nouns, pronouns, and adjectives that specifically describe participantsDo not use the masculine pronoun he to refer to both sexesDo not use –man as a generic ending for an occupation, such as policeman.More examples: “When an individual conducts self-appraisal, that person is stronger;” “therapists who are too much like their clients can lose their objectivity;” “a researcher must apply for the grant”Using he or she often can be tiresome. Avoid he/she and (s)he.
7 Sexual OrientationLesbians and gay men are preferable to homosexual when regarding specific groups.Homosexuality associated with negative stereotypes, and some believe it refers only to menGay can be interpreted too broadly or too narrowlyAPA approved terms: lesbians, gay men, bisexual women or menSame-gender, male-male, female-female, and male-female sexual behavior are appropriate terms for specific instances of sexual behavior.
8 Racial and Ethnic Identity Some prefer Black, others African American. Both acceptableNegro and Afro-American are inappropriateCapitalized. Black and White vs black and whiteDo not hyphenate multiword names such as Asian AmericanOther accepted terms: Hispanic, Latino, Chicano, American Indian, Native American, Asian, Asian American, or more specific subgroups such as Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, etc.
9 Disabilities Use nonhandicapping language Do not equate people with their conditionsBad: neurotics, the disabled, stroke victim, crippleUse disability to refer to an attribute of a person and handicap to refer to the source. E.g. steps and curbs handicap people who require a rampChallenged and special should only be used if preferred by your study population
10 Age Be specific, avoid open ended ranges such as under 18 and over 65 Boy and girl are appropriate for high school age and youngerYoung man and young woman, male adolescent and female adolescent are appropriateMen and women for college age and olderOlder person is more preferable than elderlyDementia preferred to senility, but best is senile dementia of the Alzheimer’s type