Tuesday, February 9, 2010

File Drawer Effect

In the midst of a college class in Sociology (never before had I seen so much opinion and Political Correctness combined with snarkiness/sniping towards white males) I read about an interesting phenomenon known as the file drawer effect. See also: publication bias.

Research into this has yielded various responses, but more sometimes as high as 6% of those polled admitted having tossed out, silenced, or simply not reported findings which contradicted their original hypothesis/theory/work.

IE: The file-drawer effect refers to the practice of researchers filing away studies with negative outcomes. Negative outcome refers to finding nothing of statistical significance or causal consequence, not to finding that something affects us negatively. Negative outcome may also refer to finding something that is contrary to one's earlier research or to what one expects.

We all do this. Those of us in the burgeoning MRA movement, and in the blogosphere are not immune.
Last night, whilst making dinner, I happened upon an open panel discussion of Women Lawyers held by Georgetown University. Based on the lawyer chicks I've met, the blogging of others (Roissy in particular portrays them as pre-destined cougars passing their days in cockfiending and martini nights bathed in wanton sex), I expected some pretty hardcore sniping by the women on the panel. Sandra Day O'Connor was overseeing the panel in a moderator capacity, and as such, she demured from virtually any question posed. A seemingly high profile female attorney was talking about the struggles of being a mother and a lawyer and that law in particular b/c of hours required/competitiveness is especially demanding for women.

My eyes rolled and I turned the volume up hoping for fodder about entitlement from women et cetera. Then something interesting happened. A woman from the audience asked the pointed/anticipating the answer type question, " what more could your law firm be doing to help you as a working mother?"

The female attorney replied flatly and unequivocally: "nothing. I can't think of anything add'ly they could be doing to help."

The woman faltered for a moment, then asked another pointed question about the "subtle barriers" women still face despite having made progress.
The female attorney replied flatly, "professional dress is something of a gray area".

There was some other predictable commenting by another panel member, solicitor general, I believe, about the subtle barriers....but by and large the panel's advice was to show up over-prepared, do your best, and like with anyone seeking success, sacrifice your social life if you want a family and a career.

At any rate, near the start of the program, I was going to turn off the program upon hearing the sage advice of the female attorney.....but then I remembered the file drawer effect and wanted to potentially hear something other than the usual men-slanted support I tend to drum up in the blogosphere.

It's not all bad news gentlemen. Whilst fighting the perilous family law, divorce court conditions that now embody much of America, it's not an excuse to only seek out/focus on the negatives.

1 comment:

  1. I agree. There is always the echo chamber risk. There is always the risk we become as close minded as the feminists, rejecting anything that does not fit our world view.