Slate offers up some funny, albeit biting, commentary on a recent report of increased parity in gender assignment to household grocery shopping.

Whether or not you agree with author Amanda Marcotte’s interpretation of bias in the Chicago Tribune article, there’s a cautionary tale in her reaction to the Tribune’s reporting that’s worth paying attention to.  Marcotte discredits its findings because there isn’t enough data presented to back them up. In looking at the case presented, she saw contradictory and inconsistent application of information, and figured that a gender bias was the culprit.

While this may or may not be the case, it’s a good reminder to reporters and researchers alike: go ahead and use context, use that background knowledge. But don’t let these things define your work – research needs to be based in what the data says, not what you want it to mean.

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