More than 150 years since slavery ended and more than 50 years after the Civil Rights Act became law, racial or ethnic identity still plays a role in defining a person’s life course. In an increasingly diverse society, the persistent issues seen among racial or ethnic minority populations partly reflect the fact that mainstream, majority perspectives shape the research that informs policies, programs, and public opinion around such issues.
Researchers working to address these issues have a responsibility not to perpetuate disparities, inequalities, and stereotypes about populations of color. While disaggregating data is a necessary component of understanding disparities in outcomes by race and ethnicity, it is not sufficient. Researchers must think critically about how they collect, analyze, and present data to avoid masking disproportionalities or disparities that different racial and ethnic groups experience.
We offer five guiding principles to help researchers apply this lens to the stages of the research process detailed in this resource. While there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to incorporating a racial and ethnic equity perspective into research, these guiding principles can help researchers better identify where inequities exist, their structural cause, and the environments and conditions that perpetuate those inequities.
These guiding principles encourage researchers to examine their own biases, make a commitment to dig deeper into their data, recognize how the research process impacts communities, engage with those communities as research partners, and guard against the implicit or explicit assumption that white is the default experience of the world.
This resource provides concrete ways in which researchers can incorporate a racial and ethnic equity perspective at every stage of the research process: landscape assessment, study design and data collection, data analysis, and dissemination.