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Next Millennium Conference: Ending Domestic Violence; Biases in Research

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 1999
65 pages
A panel examines the ways in which biases in research lead to insufficient and short-sighted research on battered women from ethnic minorities and marginalized groups.
One member of the panel identifies the biases in research on domestic violence that are most problematic. First, there is bias in theoretical perspectives that are brought to the research process. The two major sociological theoretical approaches that have defined the discourse on domestic violence in the United States are the family violence perspective and the feminist perspective. Under the first theory, the family is the basic unit of analysis, and under the second perspective, the abused woman is the unit of analysis. Both theoretical constructs leave a gap in the literature about the structure and cultural factors that fuel domestic violence among ethnic groups, especially recent immigrant groups. In the context of addressing domestic violence in a stratified society such as the United States, a contextualized feminism must acknowledge both the commonality and the differences of experiences based on the intersection of ethnicity, gender, class, and citizenship. Other issues pertinent to research bias are the methodological orientation and research outcomes and their implications, particularly as they impact immigrant ethnic minority women and minority groups. Other members of the panel discuss the importance of attempting to eliminate research bias in the grant-making research programs as well as the significance of researchers conducting research on the distinctive factors that have molded the perceptions and experiences of the populations being studied.

Date Published: August 1, 1999