The role of status in evaluating research: The case of data editing

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17 Scopus citations


Cleaning and editing apparently illogical, or seemingly incorrect, data is a ubiquitous research practice. But a lack of formal guidance in this realm of research may promote reliance on colleagues' knowledge and on information from the situation at hand, such as status considerations. To investigate the extent to which status considerations influence sociological research practice, I conducted a survey-based experiment using hypothetical vignettes. A sample of sociologists was asked to respond to a hypothetical vignette depicting a researcher's encounter with apparently messy data and a proposed editing strategy. The vignettes controlled for all variables except one-the status of the hypothetical researcher-and one vignette was randomly assigned to each sociologist. I find that status considerations are relevant to sociological research. Researchers judge the same data cleaning strategy more stringently when a graduate student, rather than a professor, proposes the strategy. Implications of these findings for the objectivity and universality of sociological research practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)521-537
Number of pages17
JournalSocial Science Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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