Answered By: Paul Lai
Last Updated: Nov 03, 2021     Views: 115




The word Caucasian is something that is discouraged in APA style.  Instead, APA want you to be as specific as possible.  So using black or Scandinavian or Swedish these would be again more specific way to refer to a group that you made into as Caucasian. 

Alright, let's take a second and let's look at these examples and what I am looking for you to do is to select the best option for affirmative and inclusive language for these two.  Please launch the poll here we go.  He would go and take a look at these two options for affirmative and inclusive language.  The options are as follows I prefer to study school for underprivileged minority students.  Or I prefer to study underfunded schools with majority black populations.  I will go on differs I can go ahead and use the questionnaire here and chime in and tell me what you feel comfortable doing. 

Okay I see this awesome participation I will give those who have participated but would like to another 30 seconds to do so.  So if you feel comfortable putting your vote in here, go ahead and do so in the next 30 seconds.  Okay it looks like we have gotten a majority of people to participate.  That is awesome thank you for doing so.   

It looks like about 78% of you thought that second option would be the better option here.  That is actually the case, we are doing here is looking at the first sentence here you're looking at the term minority as I mentioned in my discussion that is a pretty loaded term.  Informative and inclusive language purposes.  Using something like majority black populations would be a more inclusive and affirmative way to that. 

So yes, you guys were right on the ball there thanks for your participation.  To move on then, let's talk about disability and using bias language to people with disability identities. 

This is complexities of the person 1st and identity language or allowing for both.  So if we are looking to the sum person first the assumption is emphasized rather than simply peers or something like a person who is blind.  Again a person the idea here is being this individual being defined by their disability.  They are an individual with a disability.  That is different right? 

You could also use identity first language here.  The disability is the focus, which allows a person to claim the disability and choose their own identity.  So, saying something like blind person, would be appropriate in this case.  Again you can see there is a humanity of prioritizing a person's humidity here.  That is a central tennant in APA style. 

To continue on, you really want to defer to group and individual preference.  This is one of our general guidelines here as well.  You want to always prefer to people as they wish to be referred to.  Be sensitive to these labels was the bullet point from the first lie.  So again defer to a group or individual preference, expressed preference of people with disabilities regarding identification stupidities matter of style. 

Yes even if stylistically using this preferred language to refer to this disability identity doesn't fit within APA guidelines or isn't stipulated in APA guidelines or even if it goes against the APA manual says, there is group and individual preference that supersedes that. 

That takes precedence to anything that you read the APA manual.  Again, being sensitive to labels that a person would choose.  You want to avoid condescending euphemisms referring to people with disability identities.  

 For example like special needs is one that you may hear from time to time.  This is condescending.  So you want to avoid that kind of language.  As well as terms that could be used as slurs. 

Yes so, yeah.  Three so common issues we see in student writing but this is not investing groups language preferences.  As I mentioned a couple times it's really incumbent upon you as a researcher to do that leg.  To investigate what a specific disability identity you would like to be referred to as a use that language in your academic writing.  That is part of being a diligent researcher.  But we do see students who sometimes don't go that extra step.  I am here to tell you to go that extra step.  It is important that you do show so you can refer to the populations that you are researching or referring to the way that they would prefer it. 

Also sometimes you see students assumptions of language they privilege able-bodied is.  So again this should be a case where you're setting up this fall's hierarchy of normal versus abnormal.  Again we want to avoid that in our APA and in academic writing more broadly. 

Here is a common question some groups of people prefer people first language, while others prefer identity first language.  How do I know which one to use?  That's a great question.  Different identities to different things.  So how do I know?  APA encourages writers to consult self advocacy groups and people within the communities for guidance.  When that is impossible writers can use either approach or mix approaches. 

So really what the APA saying here is, if you are unsure whether to use people first language or deadly first language, go to someone who identifies as part of this particular group or is all that identity.  Asked them, or look at an advocacy group and see what language they use and make that and put that into writing and use it yourself.  Do not make assumptions here.  The best thing to do according to the APA is to go to the source and to ask people how they like to be referred to. 

Okay in the second practice, I am looking for the best option of affirmative and inclusive language.  What is the best option number one, one of my clients is brain-damaged.  Option number two, is of my clients had a traumatic brain is.  Option number three.  One of my clients had special needs.   

Take a minute and go ahead and use the pool to identify which option is the best option for using affirmative and inclusively was. 

Okay awesome thank you for participating for those who felt comfortable doing so.  Overwhelmingly, this second choice, was voted in the poll to be the best option for inclusive language.  That is the correct answer.  Use of the word brain damage is not inclusive for people first language.  You were not acknowledging humanity you know prioritizing the community of people in the first option.  Option number three, I cautioned against using the word special needs to refer to individuals with disabilities.  It can be thought of somewhat condescending. 

So definitely be careful with how you use that particular phrase.  In this case one of my clients had a traumatic brain injury would be the best example of inclusive language.  Because we are acknowledging and prioritizing this person's humanity.  We are also being specific, where we are not using an outdated term like brain damage would be. 

You are instead using a specific and medical term which is in line with the guidelines that we looked at the beginning of the presentation.  So yes, great job there and thank you for participating.  If you're going to move on to talk about gender. 

Also gender identity, distinguishes the social identity or construct of gender biological, encouraging clarity around both.  So gender and are two different things.  Gender being their own identity as a in terms of gender.  Where's the are your biological markers that you are born with.  U.S. at birth.  That is more of your biological. 

People need to remember that these are two different things.  You really want to avoid mixing one with the other.  Introduces concept of non- binary gender, since gender, and transgender, discouraging dated, disparaging and binary labels.  So this is something that is kind of expanding in today's culture and broadly.  It is continuing to expand. 

So, he cognizant of different gender identities and as always, to your due diligence to find out how that particular idea gender identity prefer to be perverted.  And avoid using outdated and disparaging labels.  You want to avoid generalizing with the mail forms.  For example like mankind.   

You can see the nuanced and subtle reference there of the mail for mankind.  Instead you can say of humankind.  To include all individuals. 

Continue on this then, refer to people by names and pronouns that they used to refer to themselves.  So again, this gets back to the concept of you know, prefer to people as they wait wish to be referred to.  This general principle of being sensitive to persons labels and doing your research that you know only what was appropriate to use.  Identify and self identify pronouns or just pronouns, saying identified towards self identify pronouns is preferable then saying per pronouns when it comes to discussing someone's gender identity.  When does discussing their agenda identity say prefer pronouns has the implication for it implies that this is a person choice? 

They choose to be one gender identity or another.  And, that is not the case.  It is not how these identities are to be thought of.  So using the app per pronouns, it is a little problematic and it should be avoided.  It also comes up to here with the use of the word they.  When it is indicated as a pronoun or gender is unknown.  So if you are not sure about since gender identity, it is appropriate to use the eight to refer to that person.  This is about doing your research, and finding out if what the identity is before using a gender pronoun and it is the responsible thing to do as well. 

Common student issues around gender identity that we see is nonparallel language.  Students referring to men and males women being one term on the parallel for being men.  So using parallel language are females and men is nonparallel.  Females and male would be parallel language.  So just you know language like that in combining terms is an important aspect that we have seen all of these topics here. 

We also see's students defaulting to heat pronouns when referring to hypothetical people.  So when you're setting up a hypothetical and the writing, we see students referring to people as he, which is a gender thing.  So we want to avoid doing that as well.  Defaulting to stereo typical genders, for example when using the pronoun she went discussing nursing.  As this might be thought of as a stereotypical application of that gender pronoun.  So you want to avoid doing that as well.  Terms with inherent gender bias.  In terms like firemen and set a fire fighter.  We also see students using binary labels like the opposite.  

 When we are dealing in more complex nuance world of gender identity, there isn't one or the other.  It is not binary.  So using terminology like doubts is not. 

Okay another hypothetical question here.  Do I have to use the singular they?  So this is from the APA style blog.  If you are you writing about a person who uses they, as their pronoun, then yes, you have to use it.  Respectful and inclusive language is important.  As part of APA style.  If you are writing about a generic person, you should use a singular they if your sentence can lose a pronoun.  If you are not using that person's name instead of using a pronoun to refer to them.  It is appropriate and you should use day to refer to the person. 

Okay let's do another practice here launches the poll again.  We are looking for the best option for an affirmative and inclusive language.  Option number one, the group of five females and five males.  The group of five women and five men.  Option number three, the group had five females and five men.  Go ahead and let me know which one of those is going to be the most inclusive. 


Either the first answer (“five females and five males”) or the second answer (“five women and five men” could be acceptable, depending on the context of your writing. APA guidance is to generally avoid using “male” and “female” as nouns, which would make the second answer (“five women and five men”) the best choice. However, there may be times when writers may need to use “male” and “female” as nouns, such as in a study with a broad age range of participants. Writers want to be mindful about whether they are writing about gender identities (“woman,” “man”) or about biological sex assignment (“female,” “male”). 




 I see, I see they brought the sea, seer, and Sam.  Do a little research on that. 

Two sexual orientation defined sexually cases a person's sexual and emotional attraction to another person and the behavior and/or social affiliation that may result from this attraction.  It really has to do with what a person is attracted to and their social affiliation based on their behavior and associate affiliation based on attraction. 

This term is preferable to sexual preference or sexual identity as the orientation itself is not a choice.  Again we are getting into some of those nuance languages that refers to a group or situation in the way that they would like to be referred to him.  Always be cognizant of that. 

Avoid birds from homosexual or homosexuality which isn't inclusive, and which has been associated with negative assumptions and stereotypes historically.   

Right so again this might be something that is changed in recent history.  But it is something that is to be aware of in your academic writing. 

To continue here, on guidance of specific and umbrella terms based on current norms.  That is again due diligence as a researcher.  Find advocacy group or someone of the sexual orientation that you are referring to and make sure and get some guidance as to how to refer to that individual to that identity.  Four orientation process usually. 

Again is important to remember sexual orientation is not binary is not directly related to a person's gender or.  So these are separate things.  Sexual orientation is different from a person gender.  It can also be addition from a person's biological.  As researchers and academics is important to think of these three things as separate, and treat them as such.  To recognize that one does not determine the other.  As we move forward in the next 2 minutes, we will think about intersection Alley and how this might influence one another.  One does not determine another.  People’s identity does not determine the sexual orientation. 

Categories that are assumed as binary or heterosexual identity we do encounter that in student writing.  That is something that should be avoided.  For the sake of time I will skip over this anticipated question.  But for those of you downloaded slides take a look at this it has great information and changing language to use around sexual orientation and can be really useful to take a look at that.  We are actually going to jump to this practice too.  In the interest of time.  Okay so stucco socioeconomic status. 

Income, education, occupational proceeds in this socially given notion of what is a prestigious job.  And other elements of social status and class.  So we're talking about status in class.  Be specific here, this is another one of our general principles.  Be specific when referring to high and low income individuals.  Which is contextual.  Avoid negative, coded or generalized terms.  Yes, using the phrase like inner-city that is a super loaded term.  I really encourage you to avoid using that.  It's not just a geographical place it brings up notions of social economic status that is negative and not necessarily true. 

You are being too general and being biased.  Uses strength -based instead of a deficit -based language.  Instead of seeing people without a college education that would be deficit -based language, you would say people with a high school education.  Although that is subtle and nuanced, you are using strength -based language is that a deficit -based language in a way of being more inclusive in avoiding bias more effectively. 

As I mentioned on the previous side you really need to avoid conflating social economic status with race and ethnicity.  A person's racial and ethnic identity is different from socioeconomic status the need to be treated that way.  A common issue we see is using terms that can convey judgment attitudes or pejorative connotations regarding socioeconomic status.  Using a ward like before a poorly educated, or single parenthood, using judge mental attitudes and bring this into your writing will show the reader that you are bias and let make them less likely to believe what you say.  It will affect your credibility negatively as an academic. 

Just this one sure.  Hypothetical question here, what if I'm using a source that uses outdated or offensive language?  That's a great question so if you're using a source and that using language that is no longer appropriate or thought of as inclusive.  You want to avoid quoting the source and paraphrase instead.  That's an elegant solution.  Put it in your own words which includes inclusive language. 

That will allow you to use inclusive and affirmative language if it is necessary to use the sources language, include a statement in your writing that can help acknowledge the problematic language to the readers.  If you have the user quote acknowledge that.  Acknowledge to the reader that this is problematic language.  But the best way would be the elegant solution where I will paraphrase this passage, and use language that is appropriate for today. 

'S all right and here's our fifth practice we will do this when we get a few minutes.  I compliment here.  We are looking for the best option for affirmative and inclusive action.  Option number one, and my job at work with the homeless.  Option number two in my job, I work with people who are homeless.  An option number three is I work with people who are experiencing housing insecurity.  Take about 30 seconds once the poll gets to 45 seconds we will move on. 

All right awesome, so you guys are pretty on top of this.  The third option would be the most inclusive language.  Instead of saying homeless we are experiencing housing insecurity.  Homeless is a loaded phrase.  It brings in a lot of other connotations that aren't necessarily inclusive.  Although the second option is using people first language and is prioritizing a person's humanity.  The best option would be option number three here.  Let's talk a bit about age.  Gender and terms by age.  So one thing that we want to avoid.  Let me start over when referring to age is appropriate to refer to different stages of life.  Child or adolescent versus adult. 

Use age-appropriate words and as such is boy or man instead of male.  Be specific it is an overarching theme.  Included cyst gender, transgender, or non- binary descriptions as needed.  So as you are referring to specific individuals, that is part of another identity, that is needed include that.  It goes back to that idea of relevance.  Is it relevant to include that information there?  That's up to you as a reader keep that as a manager working towards this. 

You really want to work to have clarity on old rebels.  Avoid such terms as seniors or the elderly.  These are too broad in general.  Turns beginning with Holder are accepted like older adults or older patients are preferable.  When ever possible be specific include specific age ranges or averages when possible.  Avoid conflating old age with older individuals with infirmity or disease or disorder. 

These two things aren't necessarily connected.  Older individuals can be very healthy and vibrant.  Some do not assume or in your language in your writing conflates being ended Vance age with being infirm or anything like that. 

I will post to this one in the interest of time, we will do this one practice, however.  Again, we are looking for the best affirmative and if inclusive language here.  You have three options.  The researchers studied adolescents, the researchers studied adolescents aged 13-17, or the researchers studied adolescents under the age of 18 what is the best options? 

Okay it looks like he has on top of us went to the best option is option number two.  The researchers studied adolescents aged 13-17.  They were using specific words to refer to the group which is adolescents and the age range of the people they were referring to here.   

This is about being as specific as possible which is one of the overarching guidelines in avoiding bias.  Okay well one more section here, before we get to offering some resources.  This notion of intersection alley. 

The APA to find this is this way the way that individuals are shaped by and identify with a vast array of cultural, structural, sociobiological, economic and social context.  So it is the way that the site different identities can come together.  And how these individuals can be shaped by multiple things.  Which is pretty critical. 

Is a new section in the APA, so those of you are interested in reading the manual.  I can hear all's view saying me, me, me.  You can check it out is pretty interesting reading.  In a study, writers should identify individuals’ characteristics and group memberships and describe how these intersect in ways that are relevant. 

So here again we are talking about relevance including that if that is important these intersections of these at different identities.  If that is again relevant in your writing.  I think will go through this practice so we can get to the resources before you get to time.  I apologize for falling behind.  Yes, I think this would be better spent looking at resources here.  Okay so some action steps that you can take for reducing and eliminating bias in your writing. 

Number one, understand and reflect on your own bias implicit and explicit.  So the reality is that we all come from different backgrounds and different cultural backgrounds.  We all bring something of our own individual bias to the table.  So being open and reflecting about that in reflecting on to say about that can be a really good way for you to start eliminating or reducing bias.  Be aware of the general APA guidelines so you can refer to Chapter five in the APA manual as needed.  To help you with that. 

Practice proactive language generally.  So try this stuff on maybe in your daily life or in writing assignments.  Get some practice using this type of language.  Prioritize people over style.  Yes this people first notion.  Do the work when writing about a group or people, reserved to the preferences when possible.  Do the legwork care.  You should know how a group needs to refer to.  If needed explain language and choice in your writing.  Explain to the reason why you did that and give them your rationale just like you used one term over another.  Why use one bit of language over another.  Two okay to these resources, a good place is thought would be the avoiding bias webpage.  That's offered to the writing Center.  That's a good jump off.there.  We have a blog post about inclusive in academic writing and APA using the singular they.  This is something the students may not be super familiar with this is a good blog post.  Then there is inclusive language policy in announcement you can check out that blog post in the middle.  Another blog post about bias the language and then a fourth one about welcome, the singular they.  Into the APA style with the seventh edition. 

These are some great resources that we can jump off if you want to learn more about policy language.  And these are good places to refer to as you are writing to make sure you are doing that these best practices when coming back to using bias free language.  So move from there since we are right at the time, I will go ahead and this webinar today.  Thank you, guys, for joining me and for participating, wth open hearts in this webinar, I know this content can be intimidating but putting in your legwork, as researchers and using bias free language is really going to help credibility as an author.  It would help with the overall professionalism as a scholar.  So definitely reach out to writing support at if you have questions beyond the webinar.  Then again thank you for joining and thank you for Kacy Walz and Anne Shiell, I will sign off.  Have a good day everyone.


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