Main | Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Internal Audit Eviscerates Regnerus Study

Today the Southern Poverty Law Center published an interview with an auditor of the infamous Regnerus study on gay parenting, which has been widely criticized for its transparently anti-gay motives, its methodological flaws, and its funding from anti-gay groups.

Since its publication in Social Science Research, the Regnerus study has been cited in anti-gay SCOTUS briefs, has been parroted almost daily by the Christian right, and has appeared internationally in places where LGBT rights are under attack.

The audit was conducted by an editorial board member of its publisher.
Darren Sherkat, professor of sociology at Southern Illinois University and a member of the editorial board of Social Science Research, was tapped by journal editor [James] Wright to conduct an audit of the process of publishing the Regnerus study. Sherkat was given access to all the peer reviews and correspondence connected with the paper, and was told the identities of the reviewers. What he found, he says, was a study that is deeply methodologically flawed and a peer-review process that failed to identify significant problems. Sherkat also says that the story of the study’s publication is part of a much larger trend in academia and the social sciences: the rise of conservative ideologues in academia whose tendentious studies are paid for by private sources and think tanks with a specific ideological axe to grind.
Following the above opening, the SPLC interviews Sherkat about his findings. Read the entire thing. I'll just excerpt his conclusion:
When we talk about Regnerus, I completely dismiss the study. It’s over. He has been disgraced. All of the prominent people in the field know what he did and why he did it. And most of them know that he knew better. Some of them think that he’s also stupid and an ideologue. I know better. I know that he’s a smart guy and that he did this on purpose, and that it was bad, and that it was substandard.
Raise your hand if you think this will stop hate groups from citing the study.

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