In an ever-increasing world of political correctness and encouragement of diversity, the academic field is not immune. Traditionally, researchers worked by themselves or in small, centralized groups of like-minded peers in a geographically close location. Technology has allowed the evolution of this so that not only can people from around the world work together, they can connect on never-before-seen levels that flatten out the challenges that come with disadvantages and disabilities.
New tools, like instant messaging communications and platforms to store and share research, make it simple to foster inclusion and diversity. Everyone can benefit from the strengths of other team members, and an individual’s weaknesses are no longer detrimental to the project. Additionally, the research itself is more thorough because a wider array of minority representation groups can be included.
The technology itself isn’t the end-all, be-all, though. It requires the team members to be willing to communicate effectively and respectfully and to actively seek out minority representation, as well. But with these tools provided to research teams, inclusion at the work-level and in the research itself is now easier than ever.
Why Diversity and Inclusion are a Must
Throughout history, one common problem has persisted in plaguing researchers invested in a thorough, accurate outcome: disparate representation of all demographics. This is particularly true for minorities. It has been a frustrating source of difficulty for researchers to include everyone in their clinical trials. If the focus is on gender, for instance, how does one ensure equal representation of all races, ethnicities, ages, and socioeconomic statuses, as well as disabilities, in one pool?
This becomes an ever-adjusting target to attempt to reach. As soon as one demographic is represented, another appears that was missed.
It’s a tricky problem to address, but this gap in representation can mean that some groups aren’t accounted for. Policies like the Public Health and Welfare Act in 1993 were enacted to ensure this underrepresentation was addressed, particularly with women and minorities. Since then, researchers were required to spotlight diversity and make sure they included both sex and race/ethnicity in their clinical trials.
Still, lack of minority representation persists, regardless of how hard the researcher works to have everyone included. There are so many variables and not every diverse group contains enough individuals interested in participating in a research project.
This lack of diversity can be damaging to the missing demographic, particularly when the research study is related to healthcare or societal reform. When a minority is not represented fairly, their needs can’t be taken into consideration appropriately.
Technology Can Help Drive Research Inclusion Today
A major obstacle to inclusive research in the past was the barrier of location. Geographic distance prevented researchers from being able to include a wide variety of demographics in their clinical trials. They had to make do with what transportation and communication methods were available.
Today, that is no longer a viable excuse. With tools like Zoom for video conferencing and Slack for messaging on-demand, anyone with those abilities can interact regardless of the difference.
The problem now is reduced to finding people who are interested in participating in the research and addressing those with low socioeconomic statuses who may not have access to the technology being used.
These are still persistent challenges for researchers who want to ensure they have fully included everyone in their trials, but regardless of how thorough a research team is and how much technology is used, there still remain those minority groups that have underrepresentation.
When Inclusion is Included
When the researchers focus on ensuring as many diverse groups are included as possible, and fairly, the level of unconscious bias in their experiment is reduced. This is not just in the clinical trials, however. It’s also the case in a research team. Inclusion of many demographics in the group authoring the experiment ensures that instances of potential bias are caught and addressed before the study is published.
Additionally, diversity and inclusion in the team and the study allows for many different insights to be considered. It’s a simple, smart way to cover as many bases as possible for the researcher, and it’s the best way to make sure minority groups are represented to show that all demographics are important.
Use Impactio to Foster Inclusion
Technological tools for inclusive research are constantly changing, so you need to have one you can turn to for consistency and stability. Impactio is the platform that scholars around the world have chosen for their research publication and inclusive communication with each other.
If your team members are long-distance or local, if you want to show that you used diversity in your research, and if you want to create professionally academic resumes that can be turned into PDF documents or web pages, Impactio is the tool for you. A complex program that makes each step of your research publication simple, Impactio does it all so you can focus on the work you need to do to drive a change in the world.