Critically Appraising for Antiracism
Identifying racial bias in published research
Racial bias in research impacts a study’s relevancy, validity and reliability, though presently this aspect is not addressed in critical appraisal tools, and consequently appraisers may often not take racial bias into account when assessing a paper’s quality. In response to this, a supplementary tool has been developed, to support appraisers in explicitly addressing racial bias.
Critically appraising for antiracism not only alerts a consumer of limitations in published research, giving them an idea of a study’s strength and methodological robustness, but this process also underlines the importance of diversity from the beginning of the research cycle, and in doing so supports researchers of the future to overcome these limitations.
We who participate in, consume and appraise research have a role to play in its recalibration; to reflect on previous practices and acknowledge where we have been complicit in replicating social inequalities, and actively engage to produce more inclusive research.
Concerns regarding racism in research can be broadly divided into two categories for critical appraisers to consider; underrepresentation and interpretation.
Diverse populations often harbor distinct experiences and perspectives. Researchers should ensurethe tools chosen to gauge outcomes or diagnose populations in their studies are validated for diverse populations.
Regarding the utilisation of racial/ethnicity data to interpret disparities in outcomes, including speculation of biological race-based, the misinterpretation of genetic ancestry as race, and the lack of investigation into social determinants of health.