Does bias get in your way?

The idea behind research is to find facts.

Let’s face it there are lots of opinions out there masquerading as facts. So much bias is out there. How can you be sure you are not immune to bias? It is easy to fall into the trap of evaluating an opinion as good information if it aligns with your personal belief and/or feelings on the matter.

One of the biggest factors in determining how a person evaluates a piece of information is their personal bias.  In other words, a person is more likely to accept a piece of information if it aligns with their own personal belief systems. This can be problematic if you are conducting research.

So how do you combat this?

The answer is simple; you need to be aware of your own biases before you search.  You need to be both critical and aware of those opinions masquerading as facts. Especially your very own personal bias.

When evaluating each piece of information, you need to take your biases into consideration. This does not mean that you should disregard a piece of information because you agree with it.  Just be aware that this might bias your opinions and pay more attention to the other factors you need to evaluate a piece of information.

Always ask yourself the following seven questions:

  1. How old is this information?
  2. Who is the author and are they an expert?
  3. Does the author have an agenda?
  4. Can the information be verified by other sources?
  5. What is the type of publication (newsletter, advert, blog, scholarly article)?
  6. Who is the publisher and do they have an agenda?
  7. Do I think this is good information because it agrees with my own personal belief?

You can read more about these 7 questions here.

Online Research Matters

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