Stuffed.co.nz are continuing their crusade for crap research on gay parenting by reprinting research from Australia which has been exposed as shonky and useless.
But just to summarise, the Stuff-ed article says
Children with gay parents are happier and healthier than kids from the average family, new research shows. The preliminary findings from the Australian study contradict stereotypes that a family without an obvious dad or mum would harm the children, said lead researcher Dr Simon Crouch…. Crouch, who is himself a gay man with four-year-old twin boys, ran the world’s largest study on homosexual families at the University of Melbourne. The Australian Study of Child Health in Same-Sex Families collected data on the physical, mental and social well being of 500 children aged 5 to 17, from 315 gay, lesbian and bisexual parents. Eighty per cent of the parents who completed the questionnaire on child health were women.
Yes – you can probably already see major problems with this research which the media can’t.
Here’s the problems: (according to expert advisers who can see through these BS studies)
“The big problem is pretty much as it is with other such studies.
1) These are mums recruited through gay/lesbian community sites, orgs and bookstores, etc. Therefore they are more politically active and motivated than the general population.
2) These are light years away from any kind of representative sample. They essentially admit that in saying their samples are “snowball and convenience samples.” That is like what a poor grad student would use.
3) The mums all self-reported with no exterior objective checks. And they know they are participating in a major lesbian parenting study.
And from another analysis
“…the Sydney Morning Herald article makes several references, including in the headline, to “same-sex couples.” However, it is NOT a study of children raised by same-sex “couples”–it is a study of “children . . . with at least one parent who self identifies as being same-sex attracted.” The study design refers vaguely to “same-sex families,” which cleverly seems to IMPLY same-sex couples, but which actually, under the design of the study, could refer to a family consisting entirely of a male child being raised by a single female parent–if that mother merely happens to be sexually attracted to other females.
In a politically charged environment such as gay parenting, the public would do well to demand nothing less than the best-quality research designs. Snowball sampling — where motivated friends ask their own friends to participate — doesn’t cut it.
If you want to read decent research….
The New Family Structures Study (NFSS), elected to talk to the children after they had grown up, to skip the parents entirely to ensure a more independent assessment, to not broadcast our key research questions in the title or initial screener questionnaire, and to locate them randomly in a large population-based sample. “Junk science” it is not. But its initial results, as well as follow-up analyses in response to criticism, certainly differ from those in Australia making the headlines today.
One researcher summarises the Australian study nicely
Given these, it is a really laughable study of which nothing can really be determined. And the news outlets that report on it without even digging into it at the most basic level have no excuse.