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Why is it important to conduct research using both male and female participants?

It is important to conduct research using both male and female participants because gender identity can influence a participant's perspective on a topic. Including both male and female participants can inform researchers if gender plays a role in the issue they are researching.

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Although gender is technically a social construct, it does play a significant role in how we experience and interact with society. Consider how every person's background influences the way they think and act. For instance, people who identify as female tend to have more experiences feeling unsafe on the street than cis males.

As a result, males and females might have different points of view on whether or not a particular situation is unsafe. They might also report taking different levels of precaution to protect themselves in public. Since gender identity plays such a defining role in people’s points of view and behaviors, it might influence how they respond to a particular survey. Social scientists should thus include both male and female participants in research to ensure they account for this possibility.

Examining how both male and female participants respond can help social scientists determine if gender plays a role in what they are researching. For example, say a sociologist is researching how much time heterosexual parents spend with their children in the United States. Surveying both male and female participants might reveal that women spend more time with their children than men. If so, this would suggest that gender does play a role in parenting practices. The data might also reveal that gender does not play a role. Either way, surveying both men and women helps ensure that the researcher accounts for the role of gender.

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