July 12, 2012
UT-Austin Investigates Regnerus for Gay Parenting Study
University's inquiry into "scientific misconduct" prompted by blogger's complaint.
The University of Texas is investigating allegations of “scientific misconduct” against sociology professor Mark Regnerus over his recent high-profile survey of children whose parents have had same-sex relationships.
A panel of UT professors will examine Regnerus’s methodology in response to a complaint by a blogger on LGBT issues that the study was “designed so as to be guaranteed to make gay people look bad” and was funded by conservative groups, according to the Austin American-Statesman. The Journal of Social Science Research, which published Regnerus’s study, has also received criticisms of the study’s methodology.
Regnerus, whose study found that young-adult children of parents who have had same-sex relationships are more likely to experience emotional and social problems, told the American-Statesman that his methodology was developed by a team of leading family researchers and approved by the university’s Institutional Review Board.
An influential group of social scientists--including Michael Emerson, Christian Smith, Rodney Stark, W. Bradford Wilcox, and Bradley Wright--issued a public statement defending Regnerus's study.
“We think that the Regnerus study, which is one of the first to rely on a large, random, and representative sample of children from parents who have experienced same-sex relationships, has helped to inform the ongoing scholarly and public conversation about same-sex families in America,” wrote the group. “"As social scientists, our hope is that more such studies will be forthcoming shortly, and that future journalistic coverage of such studies, and this contentious topic, will be more civil, thorough, and thoughtful than has been the coverage of the new study by Professor Mark Regnerus."
The review panel will release its conclusion within 60 days.
CT recently interviewed Regnerus on Sex Economics 101 -- his research into the sexual attitudes and behavior of young adults -- and published a cover story on his provocative argument for early marriage. He also participated in a Village Green panel on how best to encourage premarital abstinence. Meanwhile Regnerus is discussing his research on his blog and at Slate.