Temple, B. (1997)
'"Collegial Accountability" and Bias: The Solution or the Problem?'
Sociological Research Online, vol. 2, no. 4, <http://www.socresonline.org.uk/2/4/8.html>
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Received: 19/12/97 Accepted: 19/12/97 Published: 22/12/97
For those researchers who have struggled to be heard within academic life, the desire to install a single community as judges of research is a step backwards. The evaluation criteria used for research have been narrowly defined by some researchers within that community. Feminists, amongst others, have been trying to widen the definitions of validity. The desire to return to an authoritative voice, a particular and restricted group of 'colleagues' in Hammersley and Gomm's case, constitutes the threat rather than the solution for those researchers. It assumes that these colleagues speak for everyone and are only accountable to themselves. In this article I examine the way in which Hammersley and Gomm (1997) have set up the debate with feminist researchers. I then go on to discuss the notion of 'the research community' and the assumptions the authors make about the criteria for evaluating research. I finish by introducing an alternative way of being accountable which involves opening up dialogue with a wider audience.
... researchers must appeal without further justification only to what their colleagues would accept as plausible and credible on the basis of well established procedures and accepted knowledge (Hammersley, 1995: p. 97).
... seems to open up the possibility of bias, the way ahead is not to blame individual researchers for showing favoritisms because they depart from some mythical set of abstract canons. The way to correct it is to broaden rational criticism in science by requiring that both philosophers of science and scientists understand how prestige and power are factors in the way cognitive authority is exercised (Addelson, 1991: p. 28).
This would not result in a sudden illegitimate politicization of science or an opening of the floodgates of irrationality. Quite the contrary. Because they have cognitive authority our scientists already are politicized. It is the unexamined exercise of cognitive authority within our present social arrangements which is most to be feared' (Addelson, 1991: p. 31).
... masculine academic discourse or voice. ... Authoritative, and at times arrogant, it is a voice that speaks unitarily and with confidence. At its worst, it floats depersonalized, above actual speech, booming loudly with knowledge of the other, inviting its listeners/readers to be persuaded through its reason and reasonableness. (1997: p. 237)
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