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Gatekeepers and the Social Control of Social Research

Robert S. Broadhead and Ray C. Rist
Social Problems
Vol. 23, No. 3 (Feb., 1976), pp. 325-336
DOI: 10.2307/799778
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/799778
Page Count: 12
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Gatekeepers and the Social Control of Social Research
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Abstract

Increasing concern has been expressed over the way sponsorship of research by various governmental agencies and private foundations has influenced the "objectivity" of scientific investigations. Actual manifestations of the social control of research can be studied through an analysis of the role of the "gatekeeper." Gatekeeping influences the research endeavor in a number of ways: by limiting conditions of entry, by defining the problem area of study, by limiting access to data and respondents, by restricting the scope of analysis, and by retaining prerogatives with respect to publication. Strategies are not well developed for managing pressures of gatekeeping. Furthermore, the location of researchers within university settings mitigates against confrontation with gatekeepers, particularly if the research effort is directed toward elites or powerful institutions. Where institutions such as universities agree with gatekeepers that proposed sensitive and critical research would be "inappropriate," researchers must create autonomous positions from which to conduct their research.

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