Topic: Evaluating Bias in Research

 Framing the research question is the first step to research according to the student’s guide (Chambliss & Eglitis, 2014). With a research question, one is in a position to carefully and precisely state what the research will focus on; that is the issue at hand that needs to be investigated and needs to be understood. In my own words, I would define the first step of research as identifying the focus of the research. This implies that one determines the coverage of the research and what will be achieved in the same. With an identified focus, then the goals and objectives of carrying out the research become clear, as the sources of date are identified; methods of data collection, techniques of quantifying the data and analysis are also determined.  

The major assumptions and bias of the drug industry that underlie drug research include companies producing drugs such as GlaxoSmithKline are profit oriented and that the tests on the drugs prove that the drug is viable for the general population. The first assumption; that drug companies are profit oriented emanates from the fact that they are involved in the trials carried out to determine the effectiveness of the drugs. That is, these companies fund drug trials, and any other studies carried out in relation to the drug in question.

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A good example is the case of Avandia a drug manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, which was said to be effective in the treatment of diabetes; 11 studies supported the same, but four of them were carried out by employees from the company where as the other 11 were carried out by individuals that received grants from the company (Whoriskey, 2012). With this in mind, it is only appropriate to assume that these studies were biased to support the notion that the drug was effective in the treatment of diabetes and no adverse effect would develop on the users. It was only discovered four years later that the drug enhanced the risk of heart attack, and although a closer look at the data would show the same according to Cleveland Clinic cardiologist, Steven E. Nissen, the company overlooked the earlier warnings, until the Food and Drug Administration scientist associated the drug with 83,000 heart attacks and deaths (Whoriskey, 2012). This evidence clearly demonstrated that the drug company paid limited attention on the wellbeing of the users of its drug, as it sought to make profits and that is the reason the 11 research studies were skewed. This happens through coercion of all the individuals involved in the research, as they are manipulated to present the research results in a way that will favor the company.

The other assumption and bias of the drug industry that underlie drug research is that the tests carried out demonstrate the effectiveness of the drug on the general population. In normal cases, drug trials and tests only involve a small sample of the population, mostly individuals that suffer from the condition that the drug seeks to treat. However, the success of these trials and tests on the small sample of the population leads the drug industry to assume that that drug is effective for the general population.  

The personal bias I have as a consumer on the influence of drug industry over research is that, drug companies offer research grants and funding to researchers so that they can be in a position to manipulate the research results. That is, the only reason that drug companies agree to engage in research is because they want the research results to concur with their own so that they can make profits.


Chambliss, W. J., & Eglitis, D. S. (2014). Discover sociology. Los Angeles, CA.: SAGE.

Whoriskey, P. (2012). As drug industry’s influence over research grows, so does the potential for bias. Retrieved from <>.

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